Various Eateries is set to pursue an aggressive post-lockdown expansion drive, with plans to “create a major leisure group” this year.

In its results for the year to September 2020, the Hugh Osmond-founded group said that following its successful £25m share raising, the post-covid environment presents an “unprecedented opportunity” for the business to scale up its Coppa Club and Tavolino brands.

Having invested in improving the Coppa Club offer, and opening its first Tavolino site in July 2020, the group has said both are poised to “immediately” scale up using the funds raised in the placing.

The group will target distressed sites in prime locations, and look to identify potential, complementary, bolt-on acquisitions of other restaurant brands.

Total group revenue for the year was down 36% to £16.5m (FY19: £25.6m), and EBITDA losses before exceptional costs for the year was £1.7m, with a total loss after exceptional costs and impairments of £14.4m. Net assets at 27 September 2020 were £27.2m.

However, in periods outside of lockdown, the group said trading was “strong”, with the summer trade from July to September – where like for like revenue at Coppa Club was up 0.8% - providing “encouraging” results for the future.

Alongside the launch of its first Tavolino restaurant, the group acquired a new Coppa Club site in Cobham in the period, which opened in December, and brought in two hotel sister operations to enhance the clubhouse element of the brand.

Andy Bassadone joined the board as executive chairman and invested in the group, and further senior appointments were later made including that of CEO Yishay Malkov and, post-period end, property director Raj Manek.

Following the period, the group secured a business interruption insurance interim payment of £2.5m.

“It has been difficult to watch as the virus continues to devastate our industry, but it has panned out as we expected, validating our approach and making us even more determined to make a contribution to the recovery,” said Bassadone. “As soon as we are given the green light by Government, we plan to expand the business, to employ more people and to give customers high-quality experiences of hospitality, perfectly suited to a post lockdown world.”