Epiris today announces that Epiris Fund II has acquired the vast majority of the business and assets of Casual Dining Group, expected to comprise over 140 restaurants trading as Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas.
Fund II has committed further financial resources to The Big Table, the new company through which the acquisition has been made, to fund working capital and investment requirements.
Prior to COVID-19, Casual Dining Group was one of the largest restaurant groups in the UK, and for many years operated some of the most recognisable brands in the market.
The Big Table will continue to build on this experience whilst focusing on a smaller, more profitable estate of restaurants under the Bella Italia, Las Iguanas and Café Rouge brands. The business has been entirely funded by Epiris, with no additional third-party debt, providing a strong foundation for its future growth.
The Big Table is led by CEO James Spragg and CFO Adrian Walker. A non-executive Chairman will be appointed in due course.
Ian Wood, Partner at Epiris, said, “In common with most of the sector, The Big Table’s restaurants have been closed since late March. We will work with James and his team to re-open the restaurants, bringing over 4,000 people off furlough to enable customers to enjoy dining out again.
'This transaction will enable the business to trade through the uncertain months ahead and to invest in its three strong brands to deliver an even better experience for their customers.”
Alex Fortescue, Managing Partner at Epiris, said, “This is the Fund’s seventh investment and a particularly notable one as it serves to rescue a good business from the consequences of COVID-19.
' have a strong track record in the leisure sector, with successful recent investments including Hollywood Bowl, TGI Fridays and Parkdean Resorts, and we look forward to drawing on this experience in support of The Big Table.”
James Spragg, Chief Executive of The Big Table, said, “We are all delighted to be able to open our restaurants again with the support of an investor with such a successful track record in the leisure sector as Epiris, and look forward to welcoming back our customers.”