Azzurri Group sees sales rise by 6.6% after transformational year

Azzurri Group, a market leader in the Italian casual dining sector through ASK Italian, Zizzi and Coco di Mama, has announced its financial results for 2015, showing a sales rise of 6.6% to £217.7m in the last year.

The group invested a record £18.6m on new restaurants and refurbishments over the year, and is set to launch Zizzi in Ireland in the next year. 

CEO Steve Holmes commented, “2015 has been a truly transformational year with the acquisition of ASK and Zizzi creating a major player in the UK casual dining sector. At the same time, the business has delivered exceptional results with like-for-like sales growth, new openings and margin expansion driving EBITDA up by over 16%.

“Both ASK and Zizzi achieved strong growth, particularly in the first half of the year. Sales momentum in both brands was underpinned by the continued development of the core proposition and further investment in our estates. The pace of innovation within our brands has continued to accelerate to meet customers’ growing demand for high quality and interesting food.

“At ASK, we have largely finished the major transformation that started in 2010. This new fresh and authentic Italian proposition has been warmly received by customers and we have accelerated our new opening programme in premium sites in city centres. We opened four new sites during the year, taking our total to 112.

“Zizzi is benefiting from the completion of its transformation during the year. The new modern, rustic design and innovative menus have delivered significant growth. We opened three new restaurants in prime locations (in Stratford upon Avon, Telford and Glasgow Silverburn), taking our estate to 136.'

He continued, “The acquisition of Coco di Mama was an important step in our ambition to become the UK’s leading specialist in Italian cuisine. Coco di Mama is one of London’s fastest growing quick-service food brands, a sector in which Azzurri did not operate. Theo Randall is already involved there, we have opened two sites since acquisition and are planning to accelerate its growth to over 40 outlets over the next few years.

“Looking forward, we have a strong pipeline of around twenty openings in the next year for ASK, Zizzi and Coco di Mama as well as plans to expand Zizzi’s geographical reach into Ireland for the first time. The ongoing success of our brand transformations and continuing innovation in all areas of the business give us significant confidence in future growth.”

ASK and Zizzi were acquired by Bridgepoint (Pret A Manger's owner) on 21 January 2015 through this new company, Azzurri Group.