Bristol-based cafe and bar chain Loungers has secured a £16m investment from Piper Private Equity to help more than double its outlets to 50 over the next three to five years.
Loungers opened its first site in Bristol in 2002 and now has 20 Lounges – five in Bristol – and three Cosy Clubs in an estate stretching from the South Coast to Birmingham. Management are now looking at opportunities in the North West.
The company was founded by friends Alex Reilley, Jake Bishop and Dave Reid, who saw an opportunity to create a new chain of informal, neighbourhood all-day café-bars.
Their idea was to provide customers with a ‘third space’ between work and home to meet, chat, eat and drink – and a more attractive and appealing alternative to the surrounding local pubs and coffee bars.
Alex said: “We first met Piper four years ago and have been impressed with the team’s continued support and interest in our business over the intervening period.
“We see Piper as a great cultural fit for us and very much like the company’s desire to understand our brand and customers and the driving forces behind our success, as well as its obvious commitment to work with us as partners who can add significant value to our business. We are all now focused on scaling the business and ensuring we build an outstanding business and brand legend.”
The £16m from Piper, which recently backed the Be At One bar chain, is its largest single investment to date and the second from its £107m Piper V fund.
It specilaises in branded consumer-facing businesses, and previous investments include the original Pitcher & Piano chain, Las Iguanas and the Boden clothing business.
Piper’s Peter Kemp-Welch, who will join the Loungers board, said: “Loungers is an exceptional business with a highly driven and energetic management team that we are delighted to be backing. Its customers are incredibly loyal and love the casual, informal and slightly quirky style of the Lounges and the quality of what they offer.
“Our research shows that there are hundreds more sites to go for and we believe the Lounges provide a completely new alternative for customers and have the potential to be the ‘pub of the future’.”
Piper wad advised by Bristol law firm Bond Pearce’s corporate finance team led by Simon Hewes.
Mr Hewes said: “We’re delighted to have advised Piper again, having previously advised on investments in Weird Fish and Celtic Sheepskin amongst others.”