New Cafe Rouge managing director announces expansion plans

Peter Blake, Café Rouge and Belgo’s new managing director, has announced he will be overseeing the expansion of both brands, with a vast focus on refurbishing the entire Café Rouge estate within the next three years.

Tragus Holdings, the owner of both brands, appointed Blake as managing director yesterday with his new role starting with immediate effect. Blake was previously chief operating officer of Whitbread’s restaurant division and now joins former Costa Coffee managing director John Derkach at Tragus who now holds the position of chief executive.

Earlier this year Derkach revealed details of the refurbishment of the ‘vast bulk’ of the 126-strong Café Rouge estate, which he hopes will make the French restaurant brand more contemporary. Blake will now be overseeing that project, and is happy with how things are progressing. Further Cafe Rouges openings in the pipeline to open in 2013/14.

10 sites in the estate have already been refurbished with Derkach stating “We will continue to put a huge focus in this area to ensure we maximise the opportunity to its fullest potential. “We will certainly be pushing ahead to complete the next phase of sites in the very near future. The overall aim of completing the majority of the Café Rouge businesses over the next three years remains a realistic target.”

Derkach also recently said that he saw growth potential in Tragus’s five-strong Belgian concept, Belgo – something which is also front-of-mind for Blake.