All POD articles

  • ASK Italian

    Azzurri latest to announce closures after rescue deal


    The Azzurri Group has been acquired by TowerBrook Capital Partners via a pre-pack administration process, but 75 sites will close. Azzurri, which is made up of 301 restaurants including Zizzi, Ask and Coco di Mama, said when the coronavirus hit it acted “swiftly to protect its employees and customers, deciding to close all restaurants ahead of the government’s lockdown. Azzurri took all possible steps to protect the financial position of the business by ceasing all capex, renegotiating rental payments and food supplier costs and furloughing all restaurant staff and non-critical central staff.”

  • The Stable Southampton

    Three Joes acquires The Stable


    Three Joes, the sourdough pizza and craft beer restaurant chain, has acquired 14-strong The Stable pizza chain from Fullers for an undisclosed sum.

  • Zizzi interior

    Azzurri CEO Steve Holmes: Things are changing all the time


    Do you remember what is was like to go to a restaurant and order a plate of spaghetti? I miss it hugely, and I’m just a hungry customer. So how does Azzurri CEO Steve Holmes, who runs 295 restaurants, feel about seeing his entire estate shut down? “It’s desperately sad, because we’ve made really strong progress over the last four years,” he says. “Zizzi’s NPS score moved up to number six, the highest ever. Ask was also racing up. We opened an Ask in Westfield just before everything closed and it was trading incredibly well.”

  • 170108 - Franco Manca 2a

    What it’s like to operate in lockdown part five: Franco Manca


    Franco Manca opened five stores for delivery and collection on Friday after a two week in trial in Chiswick. David Page, chairman of parent company Fulham Shore, talks to MCA about the benefits of flat sharing pizzaiolas and why pre-coronavirus rents are not going to happen again.

  • Coco-di-Mama
    Analysis & Insight

    Contemporary fast food to see subtle 2020 growth


    Contemporary fast food brands are set to experience slight growth in 2020 following three consecutive years of growth decline, MCA analysis has revealed.

  • GettyImages-1077538138

    Steve Gotham: Recovering confidence and and accelerating growth in 2020


    Encouragingly for most, MCA predicts that 2020 will see stronger net physical increases in store portfolios across the majority of leading operators.MCA’s Operator Data Index includes over 350 branded operators with five or more outlets at December 2019. These stretch across the full spectrum of the market and account for close to 27,000 outlets which claimed modest overall year on year growth of just under 1% in 2019. We are expecting this growth rate to double to 2% in December 2020, with over 500 net new outlets to open, equating to 11 per week.

  • Greg
    Analysis & Insight

    A stock-take on physical expansion


    A stock-take on physical expansion – Review of 2019 risers and fallers

  • RROTY 2020

    Retailers’ Retailer full nominees list revealed


    The finalists for MCA’s Retailers’ Retailer Awards 2020 have been announced, with the cohort reflecting a diverse and vibrant range of eating and drinking out operators.

  • three joes

    Three Joes targets Northern expansion


    Sourdough pizza concept Three Joes is looking to open up to ten sites by 2021, CEO Tim Hall has told MCA, as it initially targets Northern expansion. 

  • Restaurant

    Looking for signs of life


    Graeme Smith and Craig Rachel look at M&A activity in 2019.

  • Coco-di-Mama

    Fast-moving grown-up Coco di Mama ‘can do’


    Carbs and caffeine is a formula that has fuelled Coco di Mama’s expansion well. The fast-casual brand has been deftly serving long queues of office workers just that since 2011. This sweet spot customer, the 25-35-year-old affluent City worker, was the genesis of the brand in Fleet Street. While this core demographic served Coco well in its early years, a new management team last year realised it needed to broaden its appeal if it was to continue its expansion into adulthood.

  • Greene King

    M&A Review of the Year


    It certainly hasn’t been a year in hospitality M&A for the faint hearted, but for those who have stuck with the sector and taken a long-term view, opportunity has knocked. Despite fears of an investor hiatus as a result of lingering uncertainty (ongoing Brexit delays certainly haven’t been helpful to M&A advisors!), the past 12 months has again proved the robustness of the M&A market in this sector, and points to further opportunities for 2020.

  • Steve Holmes, CEO Azzurri Group

    Steve Holmes: ‘If you wind the clock forward, people will eat out more than ever’


    Relevant operators can grind out profit growth, but it’s not an easy time, Azzurri Group’s Steve Holmes has told MCA.

  • Coco-di-Mama

    Azzurri Group achieves lfl growth across portfolio


    Azzurri Group has reported a group sales increase of 7% for the year ended 30 June 2019, to £299.4m, with like-for-like sales growth seen across its four brands.

  • Loungers

    AlixPartners: Cause for cautious optimism


    The M&A market for UK restaurant operators remains cautious, with distressed situations making up the majority of activity. However, several high-profile transactions completed in 2019, with investors still willing to pay a premium price in certain circumstances, says AlixPartners’ Graeme Smith

  • Pure

    Pure secures first site with TfL


    Healthy eating chain Pure has acquired its first site with Transport for London (Tfl), in what it hopes will be the first of many, director of Pure, Spencer Craig told MCA.

  • Coco-di-Mama

    Azzurri studies Pod delivery hub model


    The Azzurri Group will convert the first Pod store to Coco di Mama in around September, before switching three or four more before Christmas, CEO Steve Holmes has told MCA.

  • Pod exterior
    Analysis & Insight

    Keeping it healthy – no guarantee to staying alive…


    MCA’s market insight director Steve Gotham delves deeper in the problems faced by the likes of healthier eating chains Pod, Filmore & Union and Vital Ingredient, and discovers that it’s not all black and white when it comes to value for money.

  • Pod exterior

    Azzurri acquires 13 Pod sites in pre-pack


    Azzurri Group has confirmed it has entered into an agreement to acquire the business and certain assets of the healthy food-to-go chain Pod from its administrators RSM.

  • Three Joes

    Three Joes gears up for next stage of growth


    Tim Hall, the chief executive of sourdough pizza restaurant concept, Three Joes, hassaid the brand is gearing up for its next stage of growth amid strong growth at its debut sites.