Café Rouge to drop the Café

17 November 2021 by
Café Rouge to drop the Café

The Café Rouge name could be consigned to the history books after it was announced that one site is to be rebranded as just 'Rouge'.

The group's restaurant in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, will relaunch on 22 November under the new name, alongside an updated look and menu options, with a view to create "a more modern and relaxing dining experience". It will be the first of several sites within the 29-strong group where several new concepts will be piloted.

Alan Morgan, chief executive of Café Rouge's owner Big Table Group, said that extensive research had been undertaken into how consumers perceive the brand.

"One piece of feedback that came through strongly, from people who had never visited us, was that the word ‘Café' made them think that we were more of a breakfast and lunch place. We are simply exploring what happens to the mix of breakfast, lunch and dinner if we remove the word ‘Café' from the name of our Haywards Heath site."

Rouge is set to continue to feature the French cuisine for which it is known with executive chef Bruno Bella overseeing a new menu featuring staples such as escargot and bouillabaisse, as well as contemporary brasserie dishes like a scallop starter, baked in garlic and parsley butter with Parmesan crumb and vegan-friendly cauliflower steak with harissa hummus, toasted chickpeas and pomegranate. Frites will always be on offer.

The group is the latest casual dining brand to trial a change in name after Frankie & Benny's revealed last month that its Basildon branch was dropping Benny's from the name, shortening it to just Frankie's.

Café Rouge was launched in Richmond, south London, in 1989, by Roger Myers and Karen Jones, who were inspired by the all-day brasseries of Paris. It has since passed through several owners and last year its most recent owner Casual Dining Group went into administration.

In August 2020 private equity company Epiris bought Casual Dining Group out of administration and rebranded it as Big Table Group, which operates more than 150 restaurants across the UK and Ireland under three brands: Café Rouge, Las Iguanas and Bella Italia.

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