Las Iguanas, the Casual Dining Group (CDG)-owned brand, is set to make its international debut this summer with openings in Gibraltar and South Africa.

The Mos Shamel-led chain will open at the Ocean Village Promenade in Gibraltar in June.

At the same time, the c50-strong group will launch a 200-cover restaurant in South Africa’s Irene Mall, Centurian.

CDG agreed a franchising deal with Gold Brands Investments last February, which will see a minimum 20 restaurants open across South Africa in the next five years

Gold Brands, which is based in Pretoria and listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s AltX board, operates five restaurant brands of its own, including 1+1 Pizza, Chicken Wild Wings and Chesanyama, which features dishes cooked on a braai; Afrikaans for grill.

The company says it wants to offers customers “unique and authentic brands”, and aims to become South Africa’s leading franchise company. Founded by Stelio Nathanael and his wife, Praxia, in 2012, Gold Brands has more than 330 restaurants across South Africa’s nine provinces, including the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Kwazulu-Natal, and is described as a ‘major player’ in the country’s restaurant sector.

CDG said it was delighted to partner a restaurant company with a “similar ethos to itself and is looking forward to working with Stelio and Praxia Nathanael in rolling the brands out throughout the country”.

Gold Brands Investments will exclusively introduce Bella, Café Rouge, Las Iguanas and Belgo outlets to South Africa

Gold Brands chief operating officer Stelio Nathanael said: “South Africans are always hungry for new places to dine and Las Iguanas will fill the gap with this fantastic, well established concept.”

Speaking last month, CDG chief operating officer James Spragg said the company was planning to reach 250-300 international franchise sites over the next three to four years.

Spragg said that under the leadership of Mark Nelson, managing director, international & concessions, “we are starting to see some really good traction in franchising our brand with some carefully selected partners aboard, but also in the UK, which is interesting”.

With its international reach currently spanning the Middle East, South Africa, China and India, Spragg said: “We have 70 sites signed up, and we expect to have about 250-300 in about three or four years’ time”.