DI MAGGIO'S, the Glasgow-based restaurant business, has revealed that it hiked underlying pre-tax profits by 29% in its last financial year and highlighted its appetite for further expansion.
It declared that a long-awaited restaurant in the historic Anchor Line building in St Vincent Place in Glasgow would open by the end of 2014, with work under way on the site. This restaurant, the name of which has not been disclosed, is expected to offer a menu along the lines of a US chop house but also to have an Indian flavour.
Di Maggio's said that its latest planned expansion phase, which will also include the opening of a Cafe Andaluz Spanish tapas restaurant in Aberdeen, would cement its place as Scotland's largest restaurant chain and increase its overall capacity to more than 3000 seats.
Di Maggio's, founded by Mario Gizzi and Joe Conetta in Shawlands on Glasgow's south side in 1985, started out operating restaurants under its own name and continues to do so. Diversification has seen it open restaurants under the Amarone, Barolo Grill, and Cafe Andaluz brands.
The business is now run by Mr Gizzi and Joe Conetta's son, Tony. It is owned by Mr Gizzi and Joe and Tony Conetta.
Di Maggio's said yesterday that it had increased its turnover by 8.7% to £23.1 million in the year to April 30, 2013.
Excluding directors' remuneration, Di Maggio's achieved a 29.3% rise in underlying pre-tax profits in the 12 months to April 30 last year, to £3.288m from £2.543m.
Di Maggio's said directors' remuneration totalled £2.968m in the year to April 2013.
It added that £2.136m had been ploughed back into the business, in the form of directors' loans, to deliver further growth.
Di Maggio's noted that, in the prior financial year, directors' remuneration had totalled about £175,000.
The company currently operates 23 restaurants.
It has expanded recently into Belfast and Manchester, opening Di Maggio's Italian Caffe outlets in each of these cities. Di Maggio's has also opened an Amarone restaurant in Aberdeen.
Mr Gizzi declared: "Last year saw our most intensive phase of expansion in 29 years."
Di Maggio's said four years ago that it was planning to open an American-style chop house in the former Anchor Line building in St Vincent Place.
Explaining why the plan had taken so long to come to fruition, Mr Gizzi said yesterday: "We'd hoped to have the Anchor building up and running by now, but it has lain empty for eight years and its previous condition and architectural importance means this has been a far more complicated project than we first envisaged.
"Its location and historical value mean it'll be the most high-profile venture we've ever backed but it's a real vote of confidence in the city and one of the most exciting projects we've ever undertaken."
He added: "We're certain it'll be worth all the hard work and will add something really special to the Glasgow restaurant scene."
The Anchor Building in St Vincent Place was constructed in 1906 as the headquarters of Anchor Line, which for many decades carried cargo and passengers, predominantly to the US and India. Anchor Line's Glasgow to Bombay route was one of the longest-running in Scottish shipping history, starting in 1870 and running until 1977.
Di Maggio's noted that several rooms in the Anchor Building had been designed to "echo the opulence" of an ocean liner, with architect James Miller having also designed interiors for the Lusitania.
Mr Gizzi said that the US and Indian heritage of the building would be reflected in the "theme and menus" of the new restaurant, but gave no further details
Di Maggio's cited signs of a "general upturn" in the economy, declaring that people had a bit more money to spend than in the past few years. It declared this had given it the confidence to continue its drive into new markets and sectors. The restaurant chain employs about 500 people. It expects to raise its workforce to more than 600 by the end of 2014.