Aberdeen's Big Mannys’ Pizza targeting bigger slice of market after funding boost

A pizza firm in Aberdeen is preparing to launch its second branch in the city in the coming weeks, and is looking to grow staff to 100 within months after securing funding from a local businessman.

Big Mannys’ Pizza was launched by brothers Phillip and Ashley Adams and consultant chef Calum Wright from The Adams bar on Holburn Street in October last year – and it is heating up its growth plans with a six-figure investment boost.

Simon Cowie, an accountant, business advisor and entrepreneur, has provided the cash injection for a minority stake and will advise on the firm’s ambitious growth plans.

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The pizza business’ new site near Pittodrie Stadium – home of Aberdeen Football Club – is due to open at the start of November following a £300,000 fit-out that includes a £40,000 US-manufactured oven.

From left: Phillip Adams, Simon Cowie, Ashley Adams and Calum Wright at the second Big Mannys’ Pizza site near Pittodrie Stadium. Picture: Michal Wachucik/Abermedia.

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The Pittodrie unit will create 40 full-time and part-time jobs and see Big Mannys’ Pizza’s headcount rise to 70. When the new unit is up and running, Big Mannys’ Pizza has set an initial target of producing 7,000 pizzas per week.

The three founders have pencilled in plans to open a third city site at the start of next year, taking the number of staff up 100, while they are also looking to open an Aberdeenshire location in 2022. The firm’s expansion has been buoyed by its large pizzas and comes amid competition from the likes of Domino’s and Papa John’s.

Phillip Adams said the business was inspired to bring an investor on board by the BBC TV programme Dragons’ Den. Mr Cowie is the “fourth Big Manny”, he said. “We call him our fire-breathing dragon – he is very clear on what we need to do when we ask him for advice.”

Mr Cowie, managing partner at Aberdeen accountant Infinity Partnership, praised Big Mannys’ Pizza, adding: “I’m looking forward to working with Phillip, Ashley and Calum to take the business to the next level.”

Big Mannys’ Pizza’s special-recipe dough, created by Calum Wright, is made by social enterprise The Breadmaker, while seasoning for its pizzas and chicken wings is provided by Angus & Oink, based near Aboyne, for example.

There’s a vegan pizza thanks to a collaboration with Aberdeen’s Roots Catering, while it has also developed a beer called Smashable in partnership with Aberdeen’s Fierce Beer.

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