Pitcher and Piano founder in smokin’ hot deal to fund Hickory’s expansion across UK

Michael Bow
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Hickory’s currently has three sites in the UK in Chester, West Kirby and Rhos-on-Sea
Piper Private Equity, the buyout shop behind the Pitcher and Piano bar chain, has ploughed £6m into restaurant Hickory’s Smokehouse in a bid to guide its expansion.

The firm, which owns stakes in Be At One and Turtle Bay, has backed the chain in the hope of establishing 100 Hickory’s restaurants across Britain.

This forms the group’s fifth investment from its fifth fund, which raised £107m to invest in consumer companies. Piper has also appointed restaurant investor Paul Campbell, best known for his involved in Hawksmoor and Tortilla, as chairman.

Hickory’s offer diners slow cooked barbecued meats and is famed for its 52oz prime rump steak, known as the Texas Slab, which costs £70.

“We have been tracking the BBQ segment for some time, and approached Hickory’s after learning about its outstanding reputation amongst customers,” Piper’s Peter Kemp-Welch said.

“We believe there is an enormous market opportunity for the brand, with the potential for at least 100 Hickory’s sites across the UK.”

The restaurant was founded by Neil McDonnell in 2010 and currently has three branches in Chester, West Kirby and Rhos-on-Sea.

It has plans to open 10 more restaurants in the next three to five years.

“I know we will benefit from the team’s extensive knowledge and experience of the sector,” McDonnell added.

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