Carlson seeks partner for Italianni’s UK debut

TGI Friday’s parent Carlson Restaurants Worldwide is seeking a deal with a major brewery or leisure company in order to roll out its restaurant franchise Italianni’s across the UK next year.

Dallas-based CRW has signed up franchise consultancies BDO Franchising and Brand Development to open 20 to 30 of the US/Italian restaurants in the UK by 2005.

BDO will take charge of the chain’s franchising on the Continent, and is in talks with a number of interested companies.

BDO franchising and development managing director Max McHardy says: “The organisation needs to have the financial head-room to develop the brand.

“It should have access to an appropriate property portfolio, or it may wish to convert a badly performing brand or add to an estate.

“We need to find someone who can develop a menu and atmosphere that is right for the local market.”

There are Italianni’s in the US, Mexico and Asia.

Whitbread is licensed to run the UK’s 26 US-style TGI Friday’s diners, and is also opening a Friday’s American Bar in Heathrow Airport. However, it is not involved in negotiations over Italianni’s.

CRW – valued at $2bn (&£1.3bn) – plans to extend its 550 to 600 TGI Friday’s, Friday’s American Bar and Italianni’s restaurants into untested markets in Canada, South America and Australia, in addition to the UK and Europe.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here