Loungers appoints ex-SSP director to head Cosy Club chain
- Lucy Knowles will become managing director of the all-day dining brand
- Cosy Club has 35 establishments across major towns and cities in Britain
- Loungers scored record turnover last year thanks to new venue openings
Appointment: Lucy Knowles will become the new managing director of Cosy Club, an all-day dining chain owned by Loungers
Loungers has appointed a former marketing director of food-to-go retailer SSP to run its Cosy Club brand.
Lucy Knowles will become managing director of the all-day dining chain, which has 35 establishments across major towns and cities in Great Britain.
She will join this September as a replacement for Amber Wood, who held the role for six years before departing to join the New World Trading Company – a hospitality business headquartered in Alderley Edge – as chief operating officer.
Knowles previously worked for caterer Holroyd Howe, London-based wine bar operator Corney & Barrow, and SSP, the owner of Upper Crust and Caffe Ritazza.
While at SSP, she ran brand and menu innovation for more than 150 brands and brought in multiple new global brand concepts, according to Loungers.
Her arrival at Cosy Club will happen just before the chain prepares to open its next location in Oxford, which forms part of Loungers’ plans to open at least 30 more sites per year.
Last month, the firm declared it would launch a record number of new outlets in the 2024 financial year, including its first in the North East of England, and had identified at least 600 potential places to expand its Loungers brand.
Nick Collins, chief executive of Loungers, said Knowles’ ‘impressive operational and leadership expertise, alongside her wealth of experience in branding, food and concept evolution, will bring a huge amount of value to our team.
‘Cosy Club is well placed as we continue to open new sites and out-perform the market, and I am excited for the future of the brand under Lucy’s leadership.’
Last month, Loungers credited venue openings and an absence of Covid-related restrictions for annual turnover increasing by 19 per cent to a record £283.5million for the year ending 16 April.
During the period, the group launched its first roadside diner under the brand name Brightside opposite Exeter Racecourse, where motorists can stop off to eat popular ‘comfort-style’ dishes, including burgers, pizzas and spaghetti with meatballs.
However, operating profits nearly halved to £14.75million due to the end of publicly-funded pandemic financial support, such as the temporary VAT rate reduction on the hospitality sector.
Loungers was also impacted by higher salary costs during the first half of the year, although it managed to offset rising food and drink expenses through price hikes.
Loungers shares were 0.4 per cent, or 0.7p, up at 188.2p on early Friday afternoon, but have slid by approximately 13 per cent over the past 12 months.