The restaurant group behind Las Iguanas is planning to open 50 new restaurants in an expansion strategy set to create 1,250 jobs.

Big Table Group, which also owns the Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge chains, said it intends to invest more than £50 million over the next three years.

Las Iguanas owner Big Table Group has announced expansion plans (Victoria jones/PA)

It said around £35 million will be injected into the new openings to take its portfolio to 200 restaurants across the UK.

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Meanwhile, £19 million will be pumped into 70 major refurbishments across its estate.

Of the 50 new sites, the group said it will open 35 Las Iguanas outlets across major UK towns and city centres, almost doubling the number of restaurants in the Latin American chain.

The company said Las Iguanas has “exceeded all expectations” after reopening following the relaxation of pandemic restrictions earlier this year.

The brand opened a site in Plymouth last week and is due to open another in Southampton this year.

It comes after Big Table hired former KFC executive Paul Stokes as the group’s head of acquisitions to lead its growth strategy.

The Big Table Group also owns Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge (John Walton/PA)

Big Table Group changed its name from the Casual Dining Group last year after it was snapped up by private equity firm Epiris following the impact of the first Covid-19 lockdown.

Chief executive Alan Morgan said: “Las Iguanas has consistently proven to be an extremely popular choice with consumers, and now is the perfect time to grow the brand across the country, targeting high footfall locations in major towns and city centres.”