CRS Group, the company led by entrepreneur Christian Arden, will initially target high-profile shopping centre locations for the rollout of its ‘baby shack’ fast casual dining concept. The group, which is looking to raise £1m to fund the rollout of the smaller, more casual-dining version of its Chicago Rib Shack brand, has appointed Lunson Mitchenall to seeks sites for its nationwide expansion drive as it looks to open six new units over the next two to three years. The group, which sold its 10,000sq ft Knightsbridge-based flagship site to Buddha Bar earlier this year, launched the smaller format last year at Westfield Stratford, it is now targeting openings in Bluewater, Canary Wharf and the Trinity Development in Leeds. The rollout will primarily focus on high-profile shopping centre locations, although other trading environments will be considered in due course. Arden said: “A successful catering offer is becoming an increasingly important aspect of any retail environment and we recognised that by appointing Lunson Mitchenall we will be able to utilise its strong awareness and vast retail acumen in the competitive shopping centre market.” Theo Fordham, head of catering and leisure at Lunson Mitchenall, said: “The Chicago Rib Shack is a great example of a brand that recognises the importance of a strong shopping centre presence and to have secured the mandate to coordinate its nationwide requirements is a significant appointment. We are looking forward to utilising our experience of UK retail and leisure market to strengthen The Chicago Rib Shack’s presence in the UK.” The group also hopes to open a kiosk version of the brand in Fulham Broadway. Arden told M&C Report last month that after two years the company would look to find a “professional operator” for the business to be run under. Earlier this year, the group opened a central kitchen in Acton to allow it to smoke its ribs and wings in-house.

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