Piper takes stake in Hickory’s Smokehouse

By Mark Wingett

- Last updated on GMT

Private equity firm Piper has acquired a stake in BBQ restaurant chain Hickory’s Smokehouse
Private equity firm Piper has acquired a stake in BBQ restaurant chain Hickory’s Smokehouse

Related tags Investment Barbecue

Piper, the private equity backer of Loungers and Be At One, has acquired a stake in Hickory’s Smokehouse, the north west-based American BBQ restaurant chain.

Piper is investing £6m to support the roll out of the current three-strong brand, which is the brainchild of experienced operator Neil McDonnell, who founded the business in 2010 following extensive research into the smokehouse sector in the US.

The company plans to open a further 10 restaurants over the next three to five years following Piper’s investment. It is understood that Piper and the management team believes there is potential for at least 100 Hickory’s sites across the UK.

As part of the deal, Paul Campbell, the former chief executive of Clapham House Group and current non-executive director at Hawksmoor, Vinoteca, Tortilla and New World Trading Company, has become chairman of Hickory’s.

Hickory’s currently operates has three units in Chester, West Kirby and Rhos-on-Sea. Its format features chef’s tables, milkshake bars, children’s play areas, coupled with an emphasis on “exceptional customer service”. Its food offer focuses on meats that are slow cooked for up to 12 hours on smokers specially imported from Memphis, Tennessee.

Hickory’s becomes the fifth investment from Piper’s £107m, fifth fund. Three of these investments are Be At One, Loungers and Turtle Bay.

McDonnell said: “We are delighted to have selected Piper as our partner. I know we will benefit from the team’s extensive knowledge and experience of the sector, and have already seen the value they can bring to bear so I am confident that together we will continue to build Hickory’s into a uniquely valuable business.”

Peter Kemp-Welch of Piper, said: “We have been tracking the BBQ segment for some time, and approached Hickory’s after learning about its outstanding reputation amongst its customers. Hickory’s provides them with a truly authentic dining experience and Neil has already built a highly experienced management team around him to support the growth of the business.”

This article appeared first in M&C Report. To subscribe contact Emily.croft@wrbm.com​ or call 01293 846578

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