US restaurant chain seeks agency to build UK empire

US restaurant giant Chili’s, which has opened its first outlet in the UK, is seeking an agency to help it build a business with 100m-a-year turnover.

The chain of licensed family restaurants serves Tex Mex and grilled food and has 420 restaurants in the States, with other outlets in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, Mexico and France.

In the UK, the chain is being operated by a newly-formed company called Restaurant House, headed by Colin Halpern, who took control of the Domino’s Pizza chain in December 1993.

The company is understood to have talked to a number of agencies about developing an advertising strategy. The advertising spend is thought to be about 1m.

The Chili’s restaurant opened in Canary Wharf last month, and the chain is looking to open 32 more, each with a planned turnover of 3m.

Chili’s was developed in the US by Brinker International, which operates a number of restaurant chains. Restaurant House is also planning to launch Brinker’s Italian format, Spageddies Italian Kitchens.

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