Bridgepoint steps up Zizzi and ASK investment

Ask Italian Swindon

Bridgepoint confirmed this morning that it has officially completed the acquisition of Italian-themed casual dining restaurants ASK Italian and Zizzi — and promptly set about vowing to pump more investment into the store estate.

Zizzi has only opened two units, in Telford and Stratford-upon-Avon, since July last year but in the second half of the group’s financial year a further three Zizzis and five ASKs are planned.

Two of these have just opened: a fourth Zizzi was launched in Glasgow in January along with an ASK in Swindon.

The company said the transformation of ASK Italian, including a differentiated modern design and quality food offer developed by Theo Randall, was “nearing completion and really resonating with customers”.

It commented: “This cements ASK’s return to roll-out following its repositioning, with its most recent openings, in Bluewater and New Street, Birmingham, already being in the top 10 grossing restaurants in the estate.”

All Zizzi restaurants have now received investment within the last six years, while the ASK refurbishment programme has now reached 80 of its 110 locations.

Investment in the existing estate has “continued at pace”, according to Bidgepoint, which paid £250m to purchase the brands.

Half-year financial figures published today reveal the ASK-Zizzi business recorded sales of £119m, an increase of 10% on the previous year.

EBITDA rose 21% to £17.6m of EBITDA, up 21% on the previous year, while EBITDA margin grew from 13.4% to 14.8% in the period.

ASK Zizzi chief executive, Steve Holmes, said: “Bridgepoint’s acquisition of our business has just completed and we are delivering strong trading momentum. With a new supportive investor, our focus now is on the continued evolution of our brands, investment in our estate of restaurants and the development of our footprint in the UK casual dining market.”

ASK and Zizzi currently operate 137 and 110 restaurants respectively across the UK.

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