Carluccio’s, the all-day Italian cafe brand, has announced a move to attract early evening and afterwork trade with the launch of an Italian bar concept called Aperitivo Bar.

The concept, which has so far been launched at branches in London’s West Smithfield and Reading, sees the current deli area transformed from 5pm, with softer lighting, more upholstered seating and additional banquettes, plus high-topped tables and bar stools.

A new exclusively Italian drinks list is added that includes bottled and draught beers, plus cocktails and regional wines. The food offer includes ‘grazing’ dishes, priced between £2.50 and £4.95, and a main food menu.

Carluccio’s said the concept has been “designed for busy city sites with a strong office worker demographic”.

Chief executive Simon Kossoff said: “We have always traded well at traditional mealtimes such as breakfast, lunch and supper as well as during the day.

“The new Aperitivo bar offer has been designed specifically to attract an after-work early evening clientele, increasing traffic between the quieter hours of 5pm and 7pm whilst offering our guests the same great value and genuine Italian experience they have come to expect.”

Carluccio’s, which was acquired by the Landmark Group, its franchise partner in the Middle East, last September, currently operates c.55 outlets. In May, the company said it aimed to open another five in 2011 as it announced an 8% rise in turnover to £74.4m for the 12 months to 26 September 2010. Ebitda was up 8% during the 12 months to £8.2m.