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Family run restaurant secures £1.7m for two new branches

Birmingham-based Harnbury Holdings Ltd (Harnbury), the name behind the hugely popular San Carlo, Signor Sassi, Chicchetti and Fumo restaurants, is opening two new restaurants thanks to funding from The Royal Bank of Scotland Corporate & Institutional Banking (RBS CIB).

The first of these restaurants, Fumo, opened in early June next to the existing San Carlo restaurant on Temple Street in Birmingham’s city centre featuring a bar and Italian style tapas along the lines of their Chicchetti brand- small plate dishes designed to be shared or eaten alone.

The second, a San Carlo Chicchetti, is due to open in July in the prime tourist and theatre-going area of Piccadilly in London. The two new openings will bring the total number of restaurants run by the family to 11 and is expected to create 140 new jobs.

The RBS CIB team has banked with Harnbury since 1999 and has supported the business as it has grown from a two-restaurant business. RBS has provided loan facilities to help fund the purchase and development of the two new restaurants.

This family-run independent chain started in 1992 when Carlo Distefano opened his first San Carlo restaurant in Birmingham. Since then, the reputation and presence of San Carlo has grown and now boasts restaurants in Bristol, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London and Manchester. Carlo’s three children are all active in helping to run and develop the business and the company’s expansion has gained momentum in the last few years with London marking its fourth opening since the start of 2011. In addition, the business is developing an international franchise business with Signor Sassi restaurants in the Middle East and one in Bangkok opening soon.

Marcello Distefano, director of Harnbury Holdings Ltd, said: “This is a very exciting time for our business. By the summer we will have opened four new restaurants in the UK in little over 12 months. Our success has been built on providing authentic Italian food using the freshest produce much of which is bought from the markets in Milan but I would like to thank RBS for sharing and supporting our ambition as we bring that food to new audiences across the UK and beyond.”

Ed Urbas, relationship director at RBS CIB, said: “We are proud to have been able to bank this great enterprise since 1999 and have been fully supportive of Carlos and the family as they have expanded the business. We are delighted to have provided this funding which sees them open two very exciting new restaurants in excellent locations and to developing our relationship with them further as they no doubt continue to build their portfolio of restaurants.”

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