Italian wine bar concept Veeno will donate 10% of all profits from its online store to the NHS until the coronavirus pandemic subsides, Rodrigue Trouillet, company director, has told MCA.

Trouillet said that whilst its eight wine bars are closed, the business will focus on reaching out to its e-commerce customer base and plans to boost profits by expanding its online offering.

Currently, Veeno’s online store offers a variety of wine from its family vineyard, some from the vineyard of a close partner, and a range of prosecco, but given that the site is now the company’s only source of revenue, it plans to make all of its in-store wine available.

“We started getting emails from people requesting specific wines that we stock, so it seemed like a good idea to start selling the full range,” he said. “Hopefully it’ll increase sales which will help us and now also the NHS.”

Since acquiring the company out of administration in March 2019, Rodrigue said that the work he and his team have done over the past year “seems to have paid off.”

“We had an average of 28% like for like growth in 2020 until the government mandated closure, so we were in a strong position when we closed,” he said.

And the business looks to navigate the closure period, he said that the retained core team – most of the workforce have been furloughed but have been guaranteed re-employment post-lockdown – are focussing on two core areas: “today and tomorrow.”

“We have two separate teams, one working on the today, how we get out of today from a finance perspective, and one on the tomorrow, how we prepare to reopen,” he said, and despite the current situation, he is not ruling out further franchising as part of its end-of-year strategy.

“Before all of this happened, we had opportunities to launch some new franchised stores before the end of this year,” he added. “Obviously it’s been a bit slowed down, but we’re remaining in touch with franchisees.”

“It’s about forward thinking. We are very aware of the situation that we’re in but at the same time it’s important to think about reopening.”