Hospitality group Hostmore, whose brands include restaurant chain Fridays, reveals appetite for Scottish growth

The Edinburgh-headquartered parent company of restaurant brands Fridays (rebranded from TGI Fridays) and 63rd+1st is earmarking Scotland as being key in the significant expansion of its branch network.

Hostmore was created last year to "provide a platform for the development of hospitality brands” after a demerger by Electra Private Equity, and it listed on the London Stock Exchange in November.

It last month in its preliminary results for the year ending January 2, 2022, reported total revenues of £159 million, up from £129.1m in 2020, with group adjusted core earnings coming in at £43m, up from £23.5m, while it narrowed its loss after tax to £600,000 from £17.3m.

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The business is led by Aberdonian chief executive Robert B. Cook, who has highlighted the group’s presence in Scotland, and sees plenty of room for growth across its brands.

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“Fridays is strong in Scotland – it’s one of our strongest-performing regions,” he said, praising its loyal customer base. “We've just got to make sure we're nimble on our feet in how we attract and continue to attract that consumer.”

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He also noted that Dundee has recently become home to the first branch in the world of the Fridays and Go takeaway store concept – and forecast more to follow north of the Border, with Edinburgh and Glasgow obvious options, but also possibly locations like Stirling or Inverness. “I think there's a real opportunity to grow Fridays and Go in Scotland to a meaningful number.”

The CEO also touched on “fledgling” cocktail-led bar and restaurant 63rd+1st, which is aimed at young professionals, and named after the Manhattan intersection of the first-ever TGI Fridays that opened in 1965.

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The group has 'come out of Covid with a strong balance sheet… our growth aspirations are quite well formulated,' says boss Robert B. Cook. Picture: Mark Cocksedge.

A branch of the brand has already opened in Glasgow, with another set to follow in Edinburgh city centre, likely to open its doors in the first half of July, and potentially Aberdeen and St Andrews. It is opening in Cambridge, with hoped-for locations to follow including Durham, Bath, Exeter and Oxford.

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In terms of its growth ambitions, Hostmore was created to “host more”, also noted Mr Cook, who stated that the group, which has outlined appetite for acquisitions, has “come out of Covid with a strong balance sheet, with cash in the bank… our growth aspirations are quite well formulated”.

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