Casual Dining Restaurants: Taste Success With a Franchise

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casual dining restaurants

Casual dining restaurants serve moderately-priced food in a relaxed atmosphere. Table service is generally offered with most restaurants having a separate bar available for purchasing beer, wine and soft drinks. Casual dining restaurants are typically higher end than fast food establishments but not as formal as fine dining restaurants.

Consumer trends

Deloittes 2017 report Changing Tastes: The UK Casual Dining Market, identified that casual dining restaurants must respond to consumer trends to remain popular and profitable. These emerging trends include:

Healthier eating customers are demanding low-calorie additions to the menu, as well as there being an increasing need to cater for particular diets such as veganism and vegetarianism.

Social atmosphere younger visitors are looking for casual dining restaurants where they can socialise with friends as well as enjoy a meal.

Value for money set menus and regular offers are expected by consumers looking for a quality meal for a reasonable price.

Home delivery consumers increasingly like to experience their favourite restaurant food in the comfort of their own homes.

Many of these trends are being driven by the fact that the visitors of casual dining restaurants are more likely to be the younger generation (age 30 and under) than any other age group.

Casual Dining Group

Casual Dining Group is one of the largest casual dining groups in the UK. Brands of the group include Bella Italia, Las Iguanas and Caf Rouge which employ more than 10,000 people and serve over 20 million meals in 300 locations around the UK.

These casual dining restaurants all operate using the franchise model. The cost to become a franchisee is the same for all restaurants within the group. A total investment of £700,000 plus VAT is required however theres an impressive franchise package to match the price tag.

If youre interested in starting your own business with the support of a well-known brand, then one of these franchises could be right for you.

Bella Italia

Bella Italia is a recognisable brand and one of the most popular franchises for prospective franchisees who are passionate about bringing a little bit of Italy to the UK. With over 40 years of experience, and more than 100 restaurants across UK, Europe and beyond, this is a franchise thats going places.

As youd expect from a franchise of this size, the criteria for the ideal franchisee are very specific. Bella Italia is looking to partner with well-funded entrepreneurs with ambitions to remain with the brand for the long-term. A proven track record in the food and beverage industry would also be preferred.

Las Iguanas

Founded in Bristol in 1991, Las Iguanas is passionate about bringing authentic South American cuisine to the UK. Every franchise of this brand uses the freshest, highest quality ingredients, all of which are sourced from quality suppliers and are GM free wherever possible.

Las Iguanas is also proud to support native South American businesses like Daterra, a Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee supplier and offers a fully inclusive menu which varies depending on the location.

Caf Rouge

Caf Rouge was launched in London in 1989 and is still the only established French casual dining brand with a presence throughout the UK. There are more than 90 restaurants in the UK serving six million meals each year.

As well as offering customers with a delicious lunch and dinner menu, Caf Rouge is also the market leader in breakfast and brunch dishes. This is a true all-day bistro, with a menu that serves up French food and wine in a Parisian style setting in cities and towns across the UK.

Casual dining restaurants

Of course, there are many other casual dining restaurants other than those under the Casual Dining Group. Here are some franchise opportunities that you may want to consider for investment.


Franzos was established in 2012 as a challenger to the Nandos franchise offering its customers peri-peri chicken made fresh for each order. Now, with ambitions to become a household brand name just like its inspiration, Franzos is looking to grow through franchising.

Youll need to make a minimum investment of £150,000 to become a Franzos franchisee and have a positive attitude, have excellent people management skills and be passionate about providing excellent customer service.

If this sounds like you, then you dont need any experience in the restaurant industry as youll receive two-weeks of in-store training when you become a franchisee. Youll get support to help with recruiting staff, how to operate your business to be a success and how to development eye-catching marketing campaigns.


Hooters is one of the most well-known restaurant brands in the world. Having been around for over 35 years, the franchise is a firm favourite in the casual dining sector. Specialising in tasty burgers, cocktails and iconic Hooters Girls, this franchise offers a fantastic opportunity to start a burger business that's immediately recognisable.

With around 500 sites in over 120 countries, the Hooters brand is as strong as ever and continuously looking to grow by getting new franchisees on board. As you would expect from a franchise of this size and popularity, considerable investment is required. You'll need a net worth of around £2,000,000 and have an interest in operating at least three restaurants to be considered as a viable franchisee.


Rockets is part of the fast-casual restaurant sector which balances convenience with quality. The restaurant uses the finest ingredients to produce its hamburgers which are ready for customers to enjoy within six minutes of being ordered.

Rocket Restaurants was created in Ireland way back in 1989. Now there are 49 restaurants in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Spain, with 27 of them owned by franchisees. The cost of starting a Rockets franchise requires an initial investment of between 200,000 and 600,000. Youll receive help to find the perfect location for your restaurant and all the training you need to make your franchise a success.

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