Scottish & Newcastle is to launch a new Mediterranean-style restaurant chain called De:aLto, with plans to roll the concept out to 85 outlets by the year 2002.
The retail division of the brewing and leisure company is recruiting staff for its first 100-seat outlet at the Bluewater shopping complex in Kent.
Plans have been made to open a further seven restaurants by the end of the year, all to be named De:aLto, which means from the top in Spanish.
The concept is described as “urban Mediterranean”. The restaurants will have wood-burning ovens located in an open customer-facing kitchens and large windows.
It will be aimed at 25-to 45-year-olds and target shoppers and office workers in the day and groups in the evening. The menu will be pasta led with a choice of pizzas and other well known Mediterranean dishes.
John Beaumont, drinks analyst at Merrill Lynch PF & Smith, says: “To achieve that rate of expansion it would probably involve conversion of existing sites.”
But S&N says that future expansion is expected to be by acquisition. Sites will be about 4,000 sq ft and situated in high streets within an established circuit of quality restaurants.
S&N is also in the throes of developing a nationwide food and bowling leisure concept, to be called City Limits. S&N results for the year ended May 3 revealed that the retail division’s operating profits increased 18 per cent, from 148.7m to 175.9m.
The company is involved in an intensive investment programme of its managed estate, which incorporates such brands as Rat & Parrot, Chef & Brewer and Old Orleans.