Big Mannys’ Pizza, which is due to open a second unit in Aberdeen in the next few weeks, has received a six-figure investment boost – less than a year after it was launched.
Simon Cowie, an award-winning accountant, business advisor and entrepreneur, has provided the cash injection for a minority stake in the business and will also advise on its transformational growth plans.
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.
Its 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.
The Pittodrie unit, almost three times larger than the Holburn Street site, will create 40 new full-time and part-time jobs and see Big Mannys’ Pizza 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.
Phillip says they were inspired by the BBC TV programme Dragon’s Den to bring an investor on board, having already been approached by several potential business partners. The team wanted someone who could add extra value by helping to guide them through issues that come with operating an expanding and scalable business.
He said: “We needed an investor with the expertise, acumen and business contacts to support and advise us as we continued to grow, and Simon fitted the bill perfectly.
“We call him our fire-breathing dragon – he is very clear on what we need to do when we ask him for advice. Simon is the fourth Big Manny.”
Simon, managing partner at award-winning Aberdeen accountancy firm Infinity Partnership, said: “Big Mannys’ Pizza has a fantastic team and a first-rate product. I’m looking forward to working with Phillip, Ashley and Calum to take the business to the next level, ensuring the right infrastructure is in place to support this growth.”
Big Mannys’ Pizza was launched on October 30 last year and prepared for 150 orders to be sold over the first weekend. They sold out in just four minutes. It’s been a case of coping with orders ever since, and Phillip says they have appreciated the patience of customers as they sought to keep up with demand. It has made a name for itself due to the size of its pizzas.
Big Mannys’ Pizza’s whopping 18-inch pie has proved the most popular offering on the menu, with traditional pepperoni and margherita ones available as well as the independent firm’s special creations such as its tandoori chicken option – The Bombay BiG Boi.
Big Mannys’ Pizza has exclusive agreements to deliver to customers at The Draft Project and The College Bar in the centre of Aberdeen.
Collaboration with other north-east firms has been central to its success. Big Manny’s Pizza special-recipe dough – created by Calum – is made by social enterprise The Breadmaker, seasoning for its pizzas and chicken wings is provided by Angus & Oink, based at Dess, near Aboyne, and The Tilly Butcher supplies the steak for one of its most popular pizzas.
There’s a vegan pizza thanks to a collaboration with Aberdeen’s Roots Catering, while Big Mannys’ Pizza’s cookies are made by Aberdeen’s Cookie Cult. The founders have also developed a beer called Smashable in partnership with Aberdeen’s Fierce Beer, with a colour and texture to partner their pizzas.
Phillip adds: “The collaborations have been an integral part of our story. It’s great to see north-east food and drink producers help each other and cross-promote products, and we have more collaborations on the way.
“However, none of this success would have been possible without the amazing support of the north-east public and we’re very grateful for that – our customers have helped to spread the word about us and that’s made such a positive difference.
“It’s been an incredible journey – a challenging one at times, but a good one. We’re always learning and trying to do better, whether it’s our ordering system or adding to our talented team. We’re all about fresh ingredients – and bigger and better pizzas.”
The second site, based at the corner of Pittodrie Street and Ardarroch Road, will be collection and delivery only. The unit has a bespoke preparation area, large walk-in fridge, separate entrances for collections and deliveries, as well as driver and office space. It is due to open at the start of November and will be looking to serve the Pittodrie, King Street, Seaton, Hillhead and Old Aberdeen areas as well as parts of Bridge of Don and beyond. The new site will be open seven days a week once it opens.
Pizzas are currently available – sit-in, collection, delivery – from The Adams seven days a week … fresh out of the oven.
Infinity Partnership, based on Carden Place, is a five-time winner at the British Accountancy Awards. As part of the investment deal, Simon is a director at Big Mannys’ Pizza.