A Recipe For Success

Santander helped a family-run restaurant sustain its legacy

In brief

  • Company turnover: £650,000
  • Poldino’s is a family-run Italian restaurant based in Aberdeen. The business was profitable but revenues declined following the opening of a nearby mall housing several competitors.
  • Santander Relationship Director Jenny Moultrie helped devise a business plan, before the bank provided a £150,000 loan for refurbishment plus transactional banking, card services and an overdraft.
  • The refurbishment, combined with better online marketing and new menus, has increased footfall and broadened Poldino’s target market.

Located in Aberdeen’s vibrant city centre, Poldino’s Restaurant has for many years been regarded as the city’s ‘go-to’ Italian eatery, established back in 1977 by husband and wife Leo and Linda Godini. But the local restaurant market has changed rapidly in recent years with the opening of the nearby Union Square shopping mall, which houses several major competing Italian restaurants.

While Poldino’s has always been profitable, revenues have been falling since the Union Square mall opened in 2009. Leo and Linda knew that their restaurant would have to adapt to the changing local market if it was to remain viable in the long-term. Their son Lee was poised to come aboard as a partner, so preserving the legacy of the family business was also a priority. The key problem facing the restaurant was that the mall not only diverted trade from other areas of the town centre, but its well-known chain restaurants also attracted a younger crowd. “We have a very faithful clientele, but we had to reach the younger demographic,” says Lee.

Cooking up a business plan

Aware that funding would be required to move the business forward, Leo and Linda contacted Santander. As Relationship Director Jenny Moultrie recalls, the Godini family were already putting together a plan of action. “I became closely involved in that process,” she says. “Firstly, I set out to understand the business and what they wanted to achieve going forward. After that I looked at every aspect of the business plan that they were putting together. My role was to ask questions. What will this mean for the customer? What will it achieve?”

“Jenny played an important role,” says Lee. “Right from the start, she could see what we wanted to achieve and she was prepared to share our vision.” This vision involved refurbishing the restaurant and devising new menus. The Godinis also wanted to establish an online booking system and proactive online and social media marketing. Santander agreed to provide a £150,000 term loan to pay for upfront costs such as the refurbishment and to refinance existing debts to the Godinis’ incumbent bank. In addition, a £30,000 overdraft was agreed along with card services and transactional banking.

Putting growth back on the menu

The completion of the deal allowed the Godini family to press ahead with refurbishing the restaurant, cooking up a new menu and revamping their online presence. “It’s been very well received,” says Lee. “We’ve drawn attention to ourselves and it has already had an impact. Footfall is up and the demographic has widened.” Revenue has also increased, as Jenny points out. “What we’ve seen is a 15% increase since the refurbishment was carried out, and the customer feedback has been fantastic,” she says. Thanks to Santander, growth is now back on the menu at Poldino’s.

All lending is subject to status.

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