Casual Dining Group (CDG) is concentrating on developing new income streams such as delivery and digital, rather than boosting the size of its restaurant estate or launching new concepts, CEO Steve Richards told attendees at the Casual Dining Show yesterday.

He said they had done a lot around digital and delivery. “We have also worked very hard in terms of working with partners like Cineworld. It’s about making sure we don’t just rely on walk-ins, and diversifying income streams,” he said. “The business is concentrating very hard on what it owns today, making sure it’s doing a good job and not getting distracted.”

He said the biggest focus was on getting the right digital partners, and growing that way. Richard added that while CDG had been cautious about launching apps, it was currently in “exploring mode” and would be launching some customer apps in the next few months.

Richards said the group had reigned back on openings, with only eight last year, most of which were concessions sites. “This year we will only open some more concessions sites, and a few targeted Las Iguanas sites,” he said. “We have been very cautious about opening new stores, along with the rest of the sector.”

He said the business would also be expanding its fledging international franchise business soon with openings in Gibraltar, Ireland (with Centre Parcs and some other operators) and Saudi Arabia.

On CDG’s virtual brands, Mac Shack, Stack & Grill, and Blazing Bird, Richards said it the business has “had a lot of success with that”. As such he doesn’t believe that delivery is cannibalising existing walk in trade, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t change. Richards added that he thought the likes of Domino’s are more worried about the impact of the disruptors like Deliveroo than they are.