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Sun 8th Feb 2015 - Ask Italian and Zizzi report record trading
Ask Italian and Zizzi report record trading: Turnover at the combined Ask Italian and Zizzi businesses grew 9.6% to £119m in the 28 weeks to 11 January, it has been announced. Ebitda rose 21.1% to £17.6m. Ebitda margin grew from 13.4% to 14.8% in the period. A statement said: “Trading has been strong in both Ask and Zizzi during the whole of 2014. Christmas was no exception, recording the highest ever weekly sales for the group for two consecutive weeks.” Commenting on the performance, Ask Zizzi chief executive Steve Holmes said: “These are exciting times for Ask-Zizzi. 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.” A statement added: “Since July, Zizzi has opened two units, in Telford and Stratford-upon-Avon, both of which are significantly exceeding expectations. In the second half, a further three Zizzis and five Asks are planned. Two of these have already opened in January – Zizzi opening its fourth unit in Glasgow, in the Silverburn Shopping Centre extension, and an Ask Italian in Swindon’s Regents Circus. The transformation of Ask Italian is nearing completion and really resonating with customers. People are loving the differentiated modern design and quality food offer developed by Theo Randall. 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 ten grossing restaurants in the estate. Investment in the existing estate has continued at pace. The evolution of the Zizzi brand continues and all its restaurants have received investment within the last six years, while the transformation of Ask Italian has now reached 80 of its 110 locations since 2012. Both programmes continue to generate market-leading returns.” Ask and Zizzi currently operate 137 and 110 restaurants respectively across the UK. European private equity group Bridgepoint completed its acquisition of Ask-Zizzi in January 2015 in a transaction totalling £250 million. Current Bridgepoint investments include Pret A Manger, the international retailer of fresh, healthy and ready to eat food, Dorna SBK, the sports right management company with exclusive rights to promote and manage the MotoGP Motorcycle World Championship and the World Superbikes Championship, Wiggle, the online cycling, running and swimming retailer, and Histoire d’Or, the French jewellery retailer. 

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