Piper invests in fast growing Lounge cafe-bar chain.
Piper, a leading private equity specialist in consumer brands, has taken a significant minority stake in Loungers, the operator behind the highly successful Lounge café-bar chain.
Loungers was founded in 2002 by a trio of longstanding 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 – a much more attractive and appealing alternative to the surrounding local pubs and coffee bars. Loungers opened its first unit in Bristol and there are now five Lounges in Bristol and more than 20 Lounge locations in the UK, stretching from Plymouth to Birmingham. The business plans to open a further 50 outlets over the next three to five years.
Piper is investing £16m in Loungers, the largest single investment it has made to date and the second from its £107m fund, Piper V. As original founders of the Pitcher & Piano chain and investors in restaurants and bars such as Las Iguanas and Be At One, Piper has extensive experience of growing brands in this sector.
Loungers co-founder Alex Reilley said: ’We first met Piper about 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.’
Peter Kemp-Welch, of Piper, stated: ’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”’.