ITALIAN restaurant chain Tony Macaroni yesterday served up plans to open a further six outlets and create up to 300 jobs.
Guiseppe “Sep” Marini, managing director of Tony Macaroni and the Marini brand of fish and chip shops, launched his first restaurant in East Kilbride in 2007 and now has ten sites.
The next branches will consist of two in Edinburgh and one-a-piece in Braehead, Cumbernauld, Lanark and St Andrews.
Marini is also the joint owner of ice cream chain Nardini’s with business partner David Equi.
Nardini’s already has branches in Largs and Glasgow and the two businesses want to grow their combined chains to have 20 outlets by 2015.
Marini said: “The next 18 months will be an exciting time for the company as we create an even greater choice of venues, as well as creating a significant number of jobs.”
News of the expansion plan follows on from a pair of finance deals signed last year with Bank of Scotland. The bank lent Tony Macaroni £1.5 million to buy and fit out its premises in Dunfermline and to refurbish a site in Glasgow. The lender also supplied £1.5m to refinance Nardini’s banking facilities.
David Murray, relationship director at Bank of Scotland, said: “This rapidly-expanding chain of popular catering venues has already made a tremendous contribution to Scotland’s food and drink sector.
“The creation of up to 300 jobs following their latest expansion will be a very welcome boost to communities across the central belt of Scotland as economic recovery continues.”
Nardini’s – which was founded in 1890 in Largs by Pietro and Rosa Nardini – collapsed into receivership in 2003. The business was later rescued by Equi in a deal believed to have been worth £1m.
As well as being chairman of Nardini’s, Equi is managing director of Equi’s Ice Cream, which his grandfather, Pietro, founded in Hamilton in 1922.
Tony Macaroni – which has sponsored Livingston football club and STV television series Through The Keyhole – remained tight-lipped last night over the locations for its next six outlets.
The firm already has a branch in a former bank in Edinburgh’s Bruntsfield area under its “Alla Romana” brand.
About 50 jobs are expected to be created in Lanark following the £3m transformation of the town’s former auction ring into a Tony Macaroni restaurant.
Tony Macaroni’s expansion comes amid a growing taste for Italian eateries.
Last year, Tony Hussain – who owns Cafe India in Glasgow and has interests in more than 30 Scottish restaurants – unveiled plans to open a further 23 branches under his Papa Tony’s brand, creating some 500 jobs.
Tony Conetta and Mario Gizzi have also expanded their Amarone chain in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow in recent years. Their other brands include Barolo Grill and Di Maggio’s in Glasgow and Spanish tapas bar chain Cafe Andaluz in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Edinburgh-based Valvona & Crolla has also grown by opening food halls and cafes in House of Fraser and Jenners.