Cantonese pub

Bar operator Arc Inspirations gets £19m injection to fund ‘significant’ expansion

The investment, for a minority stake in the Leeds-based business, will help Arc Inspirations in its aim to double its footprint over the next few years by opening several bar locations in major UK cities, rolling out its “cluster “.

It will pave the way for an accelerated rollout of Arc’s Banyan Bar & Kitchen, BOX and Manahatta brands and support its ambition to double the activity of its current 18 locations, opening at least four new locations per year over the next three years. -five years.

The deal marks the first time Arc, which was started by Martin Wolstencroft and co-founder Chris Ure in 1999, has sought outside investment for the group. To date, the expansion has been funded by the company and more recently through a renewed partnership with HSBC.

“We are 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 industry,” Wolstencroft said.

“This funding will allow us to significantly expand our business, 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.”

Arc Inspirations operates a cluster model, running large-scale bar venues in close proximity to each other, under complementary brands in key towns across the Midlands and North of England. It currently employs 1,000 people and its growth plans allow it to recruit a similar number again, over the next three to five years.

Arc Inspirations recently recorded record annual sales, exceeding £40 million, and last autumn opened two new locations, in Birmingham (Manahatta) and Deansgate, Manchester (BOX).

He recently announced plans to open a new £2.5million Manahatta on Collingwood Street in Newcastle on the site of a former allied Irish bank at the end of 2022.

“This investment marks a new phase for our business and is a truly defining moment for us in our 20+ year journey from the time Chris and I opened our first bar in Headingley, Leeds, to the where we are now with a group of 18 leading companies led by a team of exceptional operators,” adds Wolstencroft.

“It’s a brilliant result and the reason we were able to do it is because of our people. The determination and effort they have put into the business every day, especially over the past year, has been exceptional and we are truly excited about the future and what is possible.

Commenting on behalf of BGF, Barry Jackson, BGF’s Head of Yorkshire and North East, said: “Arc Inspirations is an ambitious company with proven concepts and plans to expand into UK regions.

“We have the experience of successfully supporting similar businesses on this journey. Arc has already achieved impressive scale and we look forward to working with Martin, Chris and the team to deliver on the plan to take the business to the higher level.

Wolstencroft, Ure and chief executive Anni Opong remain significant shareholders in the company. As part of the process, non-executive director Steve Richards, CEO of Parkdean Resorts and chairman of UKHospitality, will continue to support the management team as non-executive chairman.