Polpo set for regional expansion

By M&C Allegra Foodservice

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: London, Town

Polpo set for regional expansion
Polpo, the Luke Bishop-­led restaurant group, is set for its next stage of growth after securing new bank funding and its first regional site in Brighton, according to BigHospitality's sister publication M&C Allegra Foodservice.

The eight­-strong group, which was founded by Russell Norman and Richard Beatty, has secured a new £2m loan from RBS that combined with cashflow will allow it to add up six to eight sites over the next two years.

It is thought that the group, which is on track to post turnover of c£13m in its current financial year up from £10m last year, will then assess its options regarding future funding avenues.

The company has secured the former The Courtyard site in Brighton’s New Road for its regional debut. The new 70­-cover site’s opening scheduled for the start of November.

Bishop told M&C that the company is set to explore university, market towns for further regional launches over the next 18 to 24 months, whilst also looking at opportunities in London villages.

The company, which also operates Mishkin’s, Spuntino and Polpetto in the capital, is currently in negotiations on a site in Lewisham for an opening early next year.

Bishop said: “For the foreseeable future we are focusing on the growth of Polpo. Ideally we would like to do three a year. With our infrastructure and our team we can comfortably open three a year, ideally spread out, but that is not how the world works sometimes.

“Property in central London is crazy, hence we have started to look elsewhere. We are very fortunate to have the estate in central London we have. London villages, such as Twickenham, Dulwich or Greenwich, we think we would have a good chance of doing well in these places. Regionally, we are already looking at the university, market towns such as Cambridge and Canterbury.

“We are six strong at the moment with Polpo and we think we can get to 15 in the next two years with our current financing, including the new loan with RBS. Our capex is very low, we try extremely hard to have sub £500k fit out and not pay premiums for that reason. After that two years we will see where we are in terms of financing and go from there.”

Norman and Beatty are also set to back a new meatball restaurant, the Bowler, in London's Monmouth Street. The site is the brainchild of street food entrepreneur Jez Felwich, whose Bowler meatball van has become a regular feature at markets and events across the capital.

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