Brasserie Blanc, led by the values of chef-patron Raymond Blanc, launched its flagship restaurant in London's Covent Garden on Wednesday.
The iconic 95-cover Brasserie Blanc Opera Terrace occupies a landmark site in Covent Garden, previously occupied by a former Chez Gerard restaurant, following the purchase of eight Chez Gerard sites in the capital for £9m in November 2011.
Blanc said that the parent company, the Brasserie Bar Co, raised £20m of new equity from Core Capital in October 2011, with a further £6m bank debt being agreed with Barclays in March 2012. This will help finance the conversion and opening of 11 new restaurants in 2012, bringing the total number of Brasserie Blancs up to 20.
As well as the conversion of the other Chez Gerard sites, there are also new Brasserie Blancs opening in Bath on 25 May, St Albans, Hertfordshire, in June and Farnham, Surrey later in the year.
Mark Derry, chief executive of the Brasserie Bar Co, said the group is continuing to look for further locations for the expansion of the Brasserie Blanc brand.
The Opera Terrace site includes the 40-seat Bar Blanc, 40-seat Little B private bar and a Blanc Creperie on the ground floor with outside seating in the Covent Garden Piazza.
Blanc has created the menu, which features affordable French food, with Clive Fretwell, Brasserie Blanc's executive chef and former head chef at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, with starters from £5.20 and mains from £10.
Blanc said: "My dream of bringing quality French food to the high street is being realised with the Brasserie Blanc brand becoming synonymous with rustic and delicious French dishes and exceptional service.
"As well as the Covent Garden outlet, we have opened three new brasseries since March - Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, and St Paul's and Tower Bridge in London. They all look superb and are performing well.
"Today the modern guest knows what he or she wants. Our restaurants will deliver good food cooked from fresh ingredients, with good service, at a fair price, and total consistency. I believe in giving all of these to our guests and we aim to become everyone's local restaurant."
By Janet Harmer
E-mail your comments to Janet Harmer here.
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs
Blogs on Catererandhotelkeeper.com
Catch up with more news and gossip on all Caterer's blogs
For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our E-newsletters