Exclusive upmarket deli for staff in Standard Life offices

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UPMARKET Italian food chain Valvona & Crolla has set up an exclusive café for employees at a leading investment firm based in Edinburgh.

Aberdeen Standard Investments, the investment business arm of Standard Life, revealed the café is now open to all staff at their offices on 6 St Andrew Square, but not to members of the public.

Standard Life is to open its own Valvona & Crolla outlet for staff. Pic: Phil Wilkinson/TSPL

Standard Life is to open its own Valvona & Crolla outlet for staff. Pic: Phil Wilkinson/TSPL

Established in 1934, Valvona & Crolla is Scotland’s oldest delicatessen and Italian wine merchant with five public cafés based in Edinburgh, including one overlooking the 
square.

Its high-end range of wines includes French champagne at £295 a bottle, however the employees’ café sells a smaller selection of hot drinks, cold drinks and snacks. A regular cappucino costs £2.65.

Access to Valvona & Crolla is one of several benefits for Aberdeen Standard employees.

A spokesperson for Aberdeen Standard Investments said: “Like many large companies we have on-site refreshment facilities for our people and visitors within our offices, run by catering contractors.

The new Standard Life building above Wagamama on St Andrew Square. Picture: Greg Macvean

The new Standard Life building above Wagamama on St Andrew Square. Picture: Greg Macvean

“At the new office on South St Andrew Square, local business Valvona and Crolla has been awarded the contract to provide a small café area within the building.

“In Edinburgh we employ 6000 people and have pretty much the same sort of amenities as any other large office based organisation. Our two largest sites have a canteen where people can buy food and soft drinks at normal prices. In our new building there is a café where we can buy food and drink. None of these are perks – they all cost.”

Just under 6,000 staff work at the firm across 12 sites in Edinburgh. The Chief Executives, Keith Skeoch and Martin Gilbert, have offices in Edinburgh and London.

The insurance giant owns the entire south side of St Andrew Square as an investment in one of its pension funds, having spent £105 million on property.

Prestigious London eatery The Ivy signed a 25-year lease with the firm to launch its Edinburgh branch on the street in June.

The firm came under fire in 2014 for bulldozing a city landmark to make way for a complex hosting offices, flats and shops. Standard Life was also attacked by Fringe promoters for a “bloody disgraceful takeover” after being refused the opportunity to use St Andrew Square for shows this 
summer.

A spokesperson said this was a decision taken by 13 owners on the square, not Standard Life.

A Standard Life sponsored event for the Edinburgh International Festival subsequently went ahead.

Standard Life is not the only Edinburgh-based organisation known for offering generous benefits to employees.

The Royal Bank of Scotland set up its own high street, including shops and hairdressers, for employees after opening its vast headquarters at Gogarburn in 2005.

Valvona & Crolla was contacted for comment but did not respond by the time of publication.