Fundraising round gives Individual £4m expansion pot
25 April, 2012
The Individual Restaurant Co, which runs the Piccolino and Restaurant Bar & Grill brands, is set to accelerate its growth after a fundraising exercise from the parent W2D2 group pulled in £4m.
The money was raised via a four-for-three offer on new shares in IRC which closed late last week. It will go towards new openings for both Piccolino and Restaurant Bar & Grill, as well as refurbishments of existing sites. The expansion has started with a Piccolino launch on London’s Heddon Street.
The fresh capital will restart growth again at the Individual Restaurant Company, which expanded rapidly to 33 restaurants before the economic meltdown of 2008 applied the brakes. It was bought out by Iceland Foods founder Malcolm Walker in mid-2011.
IRC chief executive Steven Walker said: “Our guests have remained very loyal throughout the last four years of recession, choosing to spend the same each time they came to us, but to visit us less often. It has been a great pleasure to be able to repay this loyalty through our Club Individual membership scheme, which we successfully launched last year and which already has nearly 160,000 members.
"Our guests have responded positively both to this initiative and to our simple, uncompromising approach to running the business. We have stuck throughout to our core principles of having a happy, well-looked after team delivering great food and service in spotless restaurants, and we have continued to invest in the quality of both ingredients and service through a period when many of our competitors were focused on value engineering and discounting.”
“As a public company we were heavily criticised for not joining in this discounting trend, and saw our shares slide from £1.75 to just 10p, even though profits only fell from £5.3 million at their peak in 2008 to £4.3 million in 2010. Banks did not want to lend and we concluded that the only sensible strategy was to take the business private in order to return it to growth.”
Malcolm Walker recently bought back the Iceland chain in a deal with a consortium of investors. He said: “Although my main focus is obviously going to be on Iceland Foods after our recent £1.5bn deal to buy the company, I am very much looking forward to helping Steven and his team drive IRC forward and bring the Piccolino and Restaurant Bar & Grill brands to many more new guests across the UK.”