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Tue 4th Aug 2015 - Zizzi and ASK Italian owner acquires restaurant discount clubs
Zizzi and ASK Italian owner acquires restaurant discount clubs: Tastecard and the Gourmet Society, the UK’s number one and number two restaurant discount card clubs, have been acquired by ASK Italian and Zizzi owner Bridgepoint Development Capital for an undisclosed sum from Didix, a Dutch gift card group. Tastecard and Gourmet Society dining clubs collectively offer discounts to members at over 10,000 restaurants across the UK for an annual membership fee. Offers are available through the brands’ websites and apps, in conjunction with a physical or digital membership card. Founded by Matt Turner in 2005, Tastecard is the UK’s largest diners’ club with over three million members. It works with some of the nation’s most popular chains, as well as over 6,000 independent restaurants. The Gourmet Society has over one million members in the UK. Matt Turner, chief executive of Tastecard and the Gourmet Society, said: “We have built a strong business over the last decade which has drawn interest from a number of potential investment partners. Bridgepoint’s reputation, belief in the business and track record with consumer brands convinced us that they are the right partner to support us through the next exciting phase of our growth.” Alan Payne, partner of Bridgepoint Development Capital, added: “Discounted dining is now an established feature of the growing eating out market, a sector that is being increasingly driven by the technology needs of the consumer. With our support, we are confident that Tastecard and the Gourmet Society will grow their member and restaurant numbers, broaden their geographic coverage and extend their technological capability.” Total UK consumer spend on eating out was £78bn in 2014 and while regular diners eat out on average 34 times a year, discount card users eat out about 45 times a year. Diners’ Club memberships generate circa 30 million covers a year in affiliated restaurants. Bridgepoint acquired ASK Italian and Zizzi for £250m in February this year. In the 28 weeks to 11 January 2015, the combined ASK and Zizzi business recorded £119m of turnover, up 9.6% on the previous year, and £17.6m of Ebitda, up 21.1% on the previous year. Ebitda margin grew from 13.4% to 14.8% in the period. ASK Italian and Zizzi currently operate circa 137 and 110 restaurants respectively across the UK. Christmas 2014 saw the highest ever weekly sales for the group for two consecutive weeks.
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