Casual Dining Group (CDG) has moved into pub operations after winning a competitive tender process to run two landmark pubs located within Heathrow airport.
The operator of Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas has assumed management control of two existing pubs, located at Terminals 3 and 5, and will convert them to a new concept – Ale & Coffee House, which has been developed with the design support of celebrated pub entrepreneur Joanna Clevely, co-founder of Geronimo Inns. In addition, Rupert Clevely – Joanna’s husband – has advised CDG on the initial concept development.
Under the new format, the pubs, which currently trade as the Three Bells and the Five Tuns (pictured), will be re-named The Darwin (T3) and The George (T5).
Mark Nelson, CDG’s managing director of concessions and franchising, said, “We’re delighted to have secured these sites and our new partnership gives us huge credibility as we enter the pub sector. It demonstrates our continued passion to be at the forefront of the hospitality sector, not just as an operator of casual dining restaurants but food-led pubs too.
“We look forward to growing this business and seeking further opportunities to build on this collaboration, such as in other airport locations and transport hubs, including major train stations.”
The partnership will see CDG assume responsibility for the day-to-day management of the sites. Both pubs will focus on delivering an all-day offer, featuring high-quality food, premium drinks and coffee, to travellers passing through the airport terminals.
The pub refurbishments are scheduled to take place later in the year – when the pubs will convert fully to the new branding and updated operation.
CDG currently operates five restaurants at London’s Heathrow Airport and a Rapide grab-and-go site at Inverness Airport, Scotland. It is set to open a Bella Italia and Oriel Grande Brasserie at London Luton Airport early in 2017, and recently commenced a contract to run all food and beverage concessions at Jersey Airport.
Of its most recent win, Nelson added: “We were up against all the other leading food and beverage operators you would expect to see in competition to win such a prestigious tender, therefore we’re delighted that our submission proved to be best in class.”