CCR to expand its menu

THE RETIREMENT of Phillip Kaye, founder of City Centre Restaurants, the Deep Pan Pizza, Garfunkels and Chiquito eateries group, is expected to lead to a takeover spree that could take CCR into other leisure areas and even herald a change of name.

Last week Mr Kaye, 62, ceased to be an executive director of CCR, eight months after stepping down from chief executive in favour of James Naylor, co-founder of Whitegate Leisure. Mr Kaye was then put in charge of new business development, but is said to want to wind down after the death of his brother Reginald last year.

Mr Naylor told the Independent on Sunday: 'If we had the opportunity to move into another area that was leisure- based, I would not say no.'

When Mr Naylor was running Whitegate, since renamed Northern Leisure, it was in discos and bowling alleys. More recently he was in charge of MAM Leisure, an amusement machines operator that was wound up by its parent, Chrysalis Group.

A move to turn CCR into a more broadly based leisure company would almost inevitably lead to its name being changed to reflect the new strategy, possibly to City Centre Group.

Mr Naylor stressed that his priority was to give CCR's existing brands more branches, adding 10 to its 165 restaurants this year, 15 to 20 in 1995 and more than 20 in 1996.

In the process, he said, he may might 'go up a notch' to outlets charging around pounds 15 a head for meals, compared with the existing chains' pounds 5 to pounds 11 price range.

'We don't want to sit on our cash,' he said. 'We want to do some deals to expand the company. There is no reason why we have to stick with the present names we have. In this business, if you stand still you die.'