Pizza duo snap up bargain sites for expansion

Two former Pizza Express chiefs are snapping up cut-price high street sites as they spot the biggest expansion opportunity for 25 years. 

Hugh Osmond, who runs Coppa Club owner Various Eateries, and David Page, who owns Franco Manca and The Real Greek restaurants, have been eyeing venues vacated by struggling businesses. 

Expansion plans: Hugh Osmond and David Page have been eyeing venues vacated by struggling businesses

Expansion plans: Hugh Osmond and David Page have been eyeing venues vacated by struggling businesses

Expansion plans: Hugh Osmond and David Page have been eyeing venues vacated by struggling businesses

Entrepreneur Osmond, who built up Pizza Express in the 1990s recession alongside Page and Luke Johnson said he spent last week fielding calls from landlords offering sites facing closure due to Covid restrictions. 

He listed Various Eateries on the stock exchange on Friday after raising £25million and will open a new 5,000 sq ft Coppa Club in Cobham, Surrey this autumn. 

He said there are hundreds of other available sites in prime towns and and plans to eventually open up to 20 restaurants a year. 

Page is looking at buying the leases for former Byron Burger, Carluccio’s and Le Pain Quotidien outlets in London, Bath and Cambridge. 

He said: ‘The rents are all falling by the week.’

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