Azzurri splashes out on kitchen and menu upgrades at Zizzi restaurants


Azzurri Group has completed a series of menu and kitchen upgrades at selected Zizzi restaurants while continuing to expand its estate in its latest financial year, with the restaurant group also reporting that its revenues have more than doubled during this period.

The company, which also operates the ASK Italian and Coco di Mama brands, has rolled out the kitchen upgrades at almost 50 Zizzi sites as part of its Project Zed initiative that launched in November.

The new Zed menu was developed from the chain’s existing menu but has been designed to reduce preparation requirements and improve cook times, while protecting the quality of items served to customers.

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This menu, combined with Azzurri’s Project Zed kitchen infrastructure, as well as the introduction of fast cook equipment and digital screens to relay and organise orders for its teams, has enabled the company to simplify kitchen processes and increase its production capacity, with each dish able to be cooked fresh in under four minutes.

Staff training times have also been reduced through the new scheme, with employees now able to be fully trained in just four weeks rather than the typical 12 weeks previously seen at the group.

New kitchen infrastructure has also enabled Zizzi to remove some three million paper tickets across its estate and around 100,000 single use plastic bags used for kitchen preparation tasks.

Other developments across the group in its latest financial year include the investment of £18.4m for the launch of two new Zizzi restaurants and the transformation of 22 Zizzi sites, as well as the launch of the Zizzi retail range in 1,200 Tesco stores in the UK.

Azzurri also rolled out loyalty schemes for its ASK Italian and Coco di Mama concepts as well as a new ASK community store in Horsham and reached more than 190 Coco di Mama points of sale, including franchise partnerships, travel and retail.

The company saw its revenues more than double in its 2022 financial year, compared to figures reported for the previous year, rising from £116.9 million to £235.9m.

EBITDA at the group increased by £19.6m from the previous year, reaching £25m, while overall profit for the financial year was £2.7m.

Steve Holmes, CEO of Azzurri, said: “Azzurri has recovered strongly following the well-documented challenges our industry faced during the pandemic. There has been encouraging progress in our core revenue channels, in particular from our restaurant and delivery activities, and we have restarted our capital expenditure programmes with two new Zizzi sites opened and 22 refurbishments.

“We have also expanded into new channels which represent exciting growth areas for the future. Zizzi ranges are now widely available in Tesco stores and Coco’s development has been accelerated into third party delivery kitchens, travel hubs and a successful retail partnership with Sainsbury’s.

“While the economic backdrop remains challenging, we have entered the new year with our people, brands and operations in a strong place. I am confident that this will enable us to successfully navigate the current challenges and deliver growth over the long term.”

The group currently employs more than 4,500 staff in over 200 sites, serving more than 14 million meals a year.

Tags : Azzurri GroupZizzi
Joshua Walton

The author Joshua Walton

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