Coffee shop chain Bob & Berts is poised to open its first outlet in Scotland after serving up an ambitious expansion plan with £2 million of backing from BGF.
Industry expert Mohan Mansigani – a former chief finance officer at Costa Coffee and Casual Dining Group will join the board as non-executive chairman.
Bob & Berts was founded by Colin McClean, his father Arnold and brother-in-law David Ferguson in Portstewart. The team recognised the market opportunity to create a differentiated offering, with a focus on satisfying demand for quality coffee and fresh food. With its distinctive relaxed style and wide food offering, Bob & Berts appeals to a growing wide customer base.
The company already has a chain of 16 eateries in its native Northern Ireland and plans to open a further 30 stores over the next four years, creating up to 600 full- and part-time jobs in the process.
Twenty of the new outlets are planned for Scotland, accounting for some 400 jobs, with the first stores expected to open in the Central Belt of Scotland in the coming months.
The company’s strategy involves targeting market towns with strong local communities across Scotland, replicating Bob & Berts success to date.
Colin McClean, co-owner of Bob & Berts, said: “The business is growing quickly and we are looking forward to taking the next step. We have successfully opened ten stores in the past two years and are looking to open a further 30 stores over the next four years.
“Working with BGF will enable us to accelerate our growth plans and we are now actively looking at sites in Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. Fundamental to our growth plans will be maintaining the culture and the ethos that has made Bob & Berts a hit with our customers.”
David Ferguson, co-owner of Bob & Berts, added: “When we set up Bob & Berts, we wanted to offer something different to large multi-national coffee chains. Our branding, food selection and interior design sets us apart from our competition and we believe we have created an environment that encourages people to relax. All of our new cafes will be created with this culture in mind.”
New chair Mansigani served as chief finance officer at Casual Dining Group – the company behind brands including Belgo, Bella Italia and Café Rouge – from 2002 until 2014, having previously worked as finance director at Costa Coffee and TGI Fridays and in senior finance roles at Grand Metropolitan and Pizza Hut.
Gemma Hamilton, an investor at BGF, will also join the board of Bob & Berts.
Patrick Graham, Head of BGF’s Central Scotland and Northern Ireland team, said: “We are excited to begin working with Colin and David who, in a short period, have successfully developed a strong brand with significant growth potential.
“This investment, along with the introduction of Mohan, who brings a wealth of experience to the company, will help unlock their desire and drive to expand significantly in the coming years and we look forward to partnering with the business for this journey.”
BGF’s other investments in the leisure and hospitality sectors include Bar Soba, Mexican restaurant group Barburrito, and Thai chain Giggling Squid.
An established and independent company, BGF has £2.5bn to support a range of growing companies – early stage, growth stage and quoted – across every region and sector of the economy.
In return for an initial investment of typically between £2m and £10m, BGF takes a minority equity stake in the business.
The company can also provide follow-on investment and access to its Talent Network of business leaders who can give advice to its portfolio of companies.
Advisors to the transaction include:
Company Advisors: Deloitte
Company Lawyers: Shoosmiths
BGF Lawyers: Tughans
BGF Tax Diligence: RSM