Matthew Neville

Leeds bar operator to accelerate “ambitious” expansion with £19m BFG investment

Leeds based bar operator Arc Inspirations is set to accelerate its growth after securing an investment from BGF, the UK and Ireland’s most active growth capital investor, for a minority stake in the business.

BGF is investing £19m into the business. The capital will give the business substantial leverage as it looks to double its footprint over the next few years by opening multiple bar sites in major UK cities, deploying its “cluster” strategy.

Today’s announcement marks a new phase for the business, paving the way for an accelerated rollout of its three premium brands Banyan Bar & Kitchen, BOX and Manahatta.

The investment will support the company’s ambition to double the business from its current 18 venues, delivering at least four new site openings per year over the next three-to-five years.

Arc Inspirations chief executive, Martin Wolstencroft said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have secured this investment from BGF who are committed investors with a track record of supporting growth and success in the hospitality and leisure sector.

“This funding will enable us to expand our business significantly, allowing us to take advantage of substantial market opportunities over the next few years, as we take our winning brands to more key cities across the UK.”

The deal marks the first time Arc has introduced external investment to the group. Its expansion to date, since Martin and co-founder Chris Ure launched the business in 1999, has been funded by the business and more recently through a renewed partnership with HSBC.

The successful conclusion of this investment process comes on the back of a year of resurgence and recovery for the business after the challenges of the pandemic. Arc Inspirations recently posted record annual sales, in excess of £40m, and last autumn opened two new landmark venues, in Birmingham and Deansgate, Manchester.

The deal was led for BGF by Barry Jackson and Rob Johnson. Commenting on behalf of BGF, Barry Jackson, head of BGF in Yorkshire and North East, said: “Arc Inspirations is an ambitious business with proven concepts and sights set on expansion across the UK regions. We have experience of successfully supporting similar businesses on this journey.

“Arc has already achieved an impressive scale and we look forward to working with Martin, Chris and the team to deliver against the plan to take the business to the next level.”

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