Coppa Club operator Various Eateries prepares £25m float

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Coppa Club operator Various Eateries prepares £25m float on AIM scale the business 'at pace' Hugh Osmond

Related tags Hugh osmond Restaurant Coronavirus London stock exchange

Various Eateries, the restaurant group founded by hospitality entrepreneur Hugh Osmond, has announced its intention to seek admission to trading on AIM under plans to scale the business 'at pace'.

The group, which operates the seven-strong Coppa Club brand and the recently opened Tavolino near in London Bridge, plans to raise up to £25m by way of a share placing on admission to AIM, a market of the London Stock Exchange.

Admission is expected to take place towards the end of September or in early October.

The group says both Coppa Club and Tavolino are 'positioned to benefit from the post-Covid environment', and believe the admission will allow it to advance its plans to roll out both brands while allowing greater access to capital to fund future activities including acquisitions.

In total Various Eateries currently operates 10 restaurants including two Strada restaurants located in London's Southbank and Dockside, respectively, which it aims to refit as Tavolino sites, subject to matters including market conditions.

The group says its portfolio, which is split between five sites in London and five outside the capital, provides a platform 'to scale organically at pace'.

Various Eateries' board of directors, which include Osmond and former Strada chief executive Andy Bassadone, believe site availability, acquisition opportunities, reduced competition, availability of talent and changes in consumer behaviour provide an 'unprecedented' opportunity to accelerate the group’s growth.

The directors add that, as the economic fallout continues, the element of the rent linked to turnover, rather than a fixed amount, will increase, and base rents will reduce accordingly.

As a result, they also believe that there will be a power shift in favour of tenants and operators in the longer term, with potential one-way tenant breaks, upward and downward rent reviews and turnover-linked leases.

“I believe that Covid-19 is the biggest event to hit the UK economy outside of war-time," says Osmond, who with fellow entrepreneur Luke Johnson took PizzaExpress public and expanded the chain to more than 200 sites during the 90s.

"Whilst I deplore the terrible effect it has had on our industry, we are confident that there will be major opportunities for a well-funded group with strong management to build a fantastic business in the aftermath of Covid.

"We are also confident that we have one of the most experienced teams ever assembled in the hospitality sector, 2020s-appropriate brands, and an established platform business and I am firmly of the view that the opportunity is as big as it was in the early 1990s when I jointly led the acquisition of PizzaExpress.

“The funds raised will be principally used to take advantage of the opportunities and accelerate growth. Our senior team has an established track record of acquiring, converting and opening sites and, with, what we perceive to be, the availability of premium sites at attractive rents, I believe the prospects for Coppa Club and Tavolino are exciting.  

“There are also a number of well-known brands out there that are struggling to navigate the pandemic and various other industry pressures. Should the right opportunities present themselves, we would consider supplementing our organic growth through acquisition, offering distressed brands a more sustainable future as part of the Group. 

“The brands we operate have been designed to cater to changing consumer preferences.

"Coppa Club provides all-day flexible spaces ideal for remote working as well as extensive outdoor spaces, and separate bar, lounge and restaurant areas.

"Tavolino is a modern all-day Italian bistro with potential for every high street.

"With a team that between them have created some of the UK’s most well-known sit-down restaurant groups over a period of 27 years, we believe we are ideally placed to make the most of the post-lockdown landscape.”

As well as Osmond and Bassadone, the Various Eateries board also includes the Ivy Collection's former executive operations director Yishay Malkov; Oli Williams, who was previously group financial controller of Itsu and senior franchise accountant at McDonald’s; and Matt Fanthorpe, former chef director at Jamie’s Italian.

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