Active, which has backed Soho House in the past, is investing about £7m in the nine-strong chain. At the same time, Active co-founder Spencer Skinner will join Honest’s board. Santander was also involved in funding the deal.
Honest, which is on track to report EBITDA of £1.8m in its current financial year, was launched four years ago in Brixton, by Tom Barton, Phil Eeles and former Cote operations director Dorian Waite.
Waite told BigHospitality's sister publication, M&C Report: “There is no pressure from Active on how fast we go, but we have always moved pretty quickly in terms of expansion and I can’t see that changing. The opportunity is there for Honest to become a much bigger brand and Active can see that. We sat down with them and they understood where the brand had come from and where we wanted it to go. We had numerous approaches but they seemed the right fit. I know private equity will look for an exit but they are more likely to be with us for five to seven years than three.
“We will have to go some to catch the likes of Byron, but this should put some daylight between us and the other burger concepts that have emerged over the last few years.”
The group recently opened its latest site in Venn Street, Clapham and is in legals on sites in Dalton and Shoreditch.
It recently secured a site in Old Street at The Bower development alongside Ceviche, for an opening this summer.
The company hopes to open its first site outside of London this year, with Brighton its main target location.
Waite said: “We have been looking in the city, banging on doors. It feels like the natural next step for us. We hope it will happen before the end of this year, but it could be 2016 before we find that right site.”
Last year, the company secured a new funding package from Santander, and while Waite told M&C Report that it didn’t need any extra investment at present, it was time for the group to add extra “industry expertise” to take it to the next level.