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Italian Restaurant Chain Carluccio’s Will Stay Alive by Making Itself Less Italian

While Jamie Oliver’s restaurant group collapse reportedly leaves HSBC bank £37 million out of pocket

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Carluccio’s Italian restaurant chain will change up its menu to stay afloat after the collapse of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant group Carluccio’s/Facebook

Carluccio’s will become less Italian to keep itself afloat

In the wake of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant group collapsing, the U.K.’s casual dining chains have their guard up. Carluccio’s — which closed a third of its restaurants last year — is expanding the ‘Fresca’ refurbishment programme designed to keep the restaurant group alive: it was two weeks from folding at one point in 2018. That programme includes a more “refined” menu, tightening up service, and, most strikingly, a gentle but conspicuous swerve away from the fierce devotion to Italian cuisine that won it respect in the early years. Steak, non-Italian fish dishes, and French wines are all set to appear on the menu.

This is the dilemma of the casual dining chain in a nutshell: with independent restaurants serving higher quality, better value iterations of the dishes those chains once introduced at large, the only options are to go toe-to-toe, or to change things up. Going toe-to-toe hasn’t worked for anyone just yet, so it’s a bold but seemingly sensible move from Carluccio’s to compromise what made it so attractive in the name of keeping afloat. [Big Hospitality]

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