Lion Capital previously backed high street chain Wagamama, and at Loungers will take over from outgoing backers Piper LLP, the latter of which first invested in the company in 2012, and has seen it expand from 23 sites to 94 across England and Wales.
The new backing comes as the group continues its rapid expansion, amid plans to open its 100th site in April 2017, with 20 more sites planned into the following year.
Co-founders Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop – who first started Loungers in 2002 with Dave Reid ‒ will retain a minority stake. Reilley is expected to move from executive vice chairman to chairman.
Nick Collins, who joined in 2012 as finance director and is now chief executive, will continue on the management team alongside chief operating officer Justin Carter. Bishop will also remain as managing director of the Cosy Club brand.
Alex Reilley, co-founder and chairman of Loungers said: “The Piper team have been absolutely brilliant for Loungers and we’ve enjoyed a wonderful and productive partnership with them over the last five years. From these strong foundations we look forward to the next phase of growth with Lion Capital, who share our excitement and passion about the future.”
James Cocker, partner at Lion Capital said: “We have admired Loungers for several years as one of the most distinctive and scalable foodservice propositions in the UK. Its casual, all-day offering is well-aligned with consumer trends and has been proven to trade successfully in an extraordinarily diverse range of locations. We are tremendously excited to partner with them for the next phase of the company’s development.”
Loungers was founded by friends Reilley, Bishop and Reid, who each had experience of the hospitality industry, and were motivated by a desire to open somewhere they would want to go to themselves. The first Lounge opened in Bristol in 2002.