The UK’s leading independent restaurant group

Casual Dining Group is one of the largest independent restaurant companies in the UK. We operate some of the most recognisable and loved restaurant brands to be found anywhere in the eating-out market, such as Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas.
We operate almost 250 restaurant sites in a variety of locations including leisure parks, shopping centres, airports and high streets. We are a national business, with restaurants located across the country, from Aberdeen to Plymouth, employing almost 6,000 people and serving more than 20 million meals each year.
In addition to our UK operations, we are also selectively expanding Casual Dining Group internationally through franchise partnerships.

Senior Leadership Team

Rooney Anand

Non-Executive Chairman

Rooney joined Greene King in August 2001, and was appointed Chief Executive in May 2005. Prior to joining Greene King, Rooney built a career in the consumer goods at Sara Lee Bakery UK (the bakery subsidiary of the US-owned Sara Lee Corporation) and before that with both Terry’s confectionery and McVities divisions of United Biscuits plc, in a variety of marketing and general management roles. As a non-executive director, Rooney currently serves as Senior Independent Director for Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc and Chairman of Purity Soft Drinks Ltd, and from January 2019, will be Chairman of the education and skills charity, Worldskills UK

James Spragg

Chief Executive Officer

James was formerly the Chief Operating Officer for the group, where he held responsibility for the Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Belgo brands, alongside leading group projects. A highly-experienced operator of restaurant businesses, James previously led Pizza Express and Strada, and held leadership positions at Scottish & Newcastle, TGI Friday’s and Whitbread.

Adrian Walker

Chief Financial Officer

Originally from Australia, Adrian’s first role was with KPMG. He subsequently held a number of roles in a range of multi-site leisure business, including Odeon Cinemas, Virgin Active Health Clubs, Vodafone Stores. Prior to joining CDG he worked for Pizza Hut Restaurants on their turnaround. He joined CDG in Nov 2019.

Mark Nelson

Managing Director

International & Concessions

Mark leads CDG’s international franchise arm, which has seen the Bella Italia, Las Iguanas and Café Rouge brands launch in India and the Middle East respectively. Mark brings a wealth of experience and knowledge, and is a former MD of Elior UK. His responsibilities also include Belgo, concessions, overseeing CDG’s restaurants in UK airports and holiday park destinations, such as Center Parcs.

Lisa Gibbons

Brand Director

Bella Italia

Lisa has worked in the sector for  over 20 years. Her career began at Mitchells and Butlers, where she worked in various operational roles. She joined the Café Rouge brand in CDG in 2011 as an Operations Manager, before being promoted to Senior Operations Manager. She moved to the Bella Italia brand as Operations Director brand in 2016, and was appointed Brand Director in 2019.

Julie McEwan

Brand Director

Las Iguanas

Julie leads the vibrant Las Iguanas brand. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge, with former roles including leading the Flaming Grill brand and managing the conversion programme in Spirit, which saw the estate successfully grow from 84 to 146 sites in 18 months. Julie started her career in Whitbread PLC as a Brewers Fayre General Manager and then successfully worked in Premier Inn as Operations Manager for their Co-located estate for a number of years.

Greg Gibbons

Brand Director

Café Rouge

Greg began his career as a Graduate Management trainee with Asda, before moving from retail to hospitality. He spent over 15 years with Mitchells & Butlers in various Operations and central roles across numerous brands, before taking on the role as Head of Bar Operations in Bourne Leisure and senior roles with Greene King before joining Casual Dining Group. He was appointed Brand Director in 2019.

Matt Ainger

Group Property Director

Matt is a chartered surveyor with over 20 years-experience in the leisure and hospitality industry. He began his career at Scottish & Newcastle plc before taking up senior roles in portfolio management at Spirit Group and Punch Taverns, with responsibility for over 500 sites in London and the south-east before joining the CDG in 2008 to head up the estates team. His role covers property acquisitions for all brands, together with development, facilities management and estate management responsibilities.

Simon Galkoff

Group Procurement Director

Simon oversees Procurement, Supply Chain and Food Technology across all CDG brands. He previously worked in the Supermarket, Oil & Gas and Foodservice industry, with experience in Operations, Marketing, Buying, Category Management, Quality & Innovation and Strategy. Prior to joining CDG he held a number of senior management roles at Sainsbury’s, BP International, Whitbread and Morrisons. Simon is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply.

Claire Clarke

Group HR Director

Claire is responsible for all HR matters across the Group, providing strategic direction in key areas such as the impact of Brexit, government regulation and matters affecting the employee brand. Previously People Director for the Concessions and Franchising division within CDG, Claire started her career in Whitbread PLC and was one of the founding members of HR in Tragus Group Ltd (the founding company CDG acquired in 2013).

Sarah Pope

Chief Information Officer

Sarah oversees all Information Technology areas for the group, with a focus on technology advancements, improving services and process efficiencies. She began her career in accountancy and moved into IT following successful transformation work in centralised reservation systems and E-commerce projects in the UK hotel industry. She has previously worked with hotel brands such as Ramada Jarvis, Mercure, Thistle, Amba and Hard Rock London, Sarah also worked in British Tennis, leading the Technology roadmap for the Lawn Tennis Association and helped drive the digital agenda in a multifaceted sports consumer organisation.