CAU, the casual dining steakhouse concept from the same stable as Gaucho Grill, could grow to a 30-40-strong estate in the UK.
The group, which is backed by Intermediate Capital Group, opened its first CAU last week on the site of the former Auberge outlet in Guildford, and hopes to launch a further site under the format before the end of the year.
Charlie McLean, currently finance director at Gaucho, who is heading up the CAU business, told M&C Report that 10 locations across the South of England had already been identified for future openings.
He said: “We are very excited about the potential for CAU in the casual dining sector. It is early days but we hope to add a further site this year and will look to three to four units next year. Long-term we believe there is potential to reach between 30-40 sites.”
The company is looking for sites around 4,000sq ft with location from the South East across to Bristol initially under consideration.
Although both backed by Intermediate, CAU and Gaucho will be operated as two separate businesses.
Main courses includes burgers prices at £9.95-£10.95; steak, sausage, pork and chicken sandwiches at between £7.95 to £9.95; and vegetarian options at £8.95 to £9.95.
The menu also includes a number of salads from £4.95 to £9.95 aimed at “yummy mummy” market; plus £6.95 starters.
In a nod to its Gaucho cousin, classic cut steaks range in price from £13 for an 8oz to £18.50 for a 12oz, which includes chips.
There is also a speciality cuts options with an Asadi de Chorizo 22oz sorlion steak, the dearest item on the menu at £43.95.
McLean said: “CAU is a separate business to Gaucho but features the same quality approach to its food offer, which our ‘cousin’ business is known for. Where Gaucho is more formal we will be more relaxed. We are positioned in the casual dining sector with a price point set between £8-£12 for the majority of the main courses. Spend per head will be on average around the £25 mark.”
CAU, which is an acronym for Carne Argentina Unica, features a more contemporary interior and enables diners to see the chefs cooking in the kitchen.
The company opened the original CAU in the Damstraat area of Amsterdam.