When Carluccio’s opened its first café it had two very clear aims: one was to offer great quality, authentic Italian food at sensible prices. The other was to provide informal but excellent service to its customers. Both objectives are still very much at the forefront of its business model today, although that single store in London’s Market Place has since mushroomed into more than 100 restaurants worldwide.
A change of leadership during the early part of this year saw former Pizza Express International boss Neil Wicker join Carluccio’s as CEO, freeing up industry stalwart Simon Kossoff to move into the executive chairman’s post. Neil’s remit is to develop the brand at home and abroad, and all the evidence suggests the company has gone about that challenge energetically this year. One of the main reasons for that is the experienced and highly capable operations team that it has at its disposal, led by operations director Sarah Murray who has been with the company right the way through its growth during the last decade. Her team’s endeavours have clearly made a huge contribution to a business that saw sales climb 9% to £128m and EBITDA rise 6% to £143m last year despite increased investment in new store opening costs and higher property costs. It’s little wonder the chain declared the past 12 months a “successful year” for the business as its balance sheet felt the benefits of operating from 101 locations worldwide.
In the UK it launched 11 UK stores during its last financial calendar while a further five stores opened under franchise in Dubai and Turkey. In its last trading statement, Carluccio’s said that business had continued positively into its new financial year with the opening of five UK stores by the end of May 2015 and a secure pipeline to deliver a further five openings before December. “Carluccio’s has performed strongly with good growth in turnover and EBITDA as well as achieving the milestone of over 100 stores worldwide,” said Simon Kossoff.
“Carluccio’s has performed strongly with good growth in turnover as well as achieving the milestone of over 100 stores worldwide”