[13 Jul 2018] - Turtle Bay founder Ajith Jayawickrema, who moved to the UK from Sri Lanka at the age of 15, has revealed how singer Leona Lewis unknowingly…
Turtle Bay is a fast-growing group of Caribbean restaurants which promise ‘to transport you to the Caribbean without a plane ticket’, offering authentic food and drink inspired by the islands’ vibrant culture.
The business is the brainchild of Aj Jaya-Wickrema, who co-founded Las Iguanas, a previous Piper investment, which grew from a regional operator of four restaurants into Britain’s market leading Latin American chain, delivering Piper a 6x multiple on its investment on exit in 2007.
Turtle Bay had four sites at investment, has grown to 36 sites in 2017 and will continue to open 8 sites a year.
Turtle Bay’s success is based on providing a uniquely Caribbean experience, with a centralised island bar serving rum-based cocktails both day and night, a menu that combines Caribbean spices with fragrant marinades, hot sauces, cooling chutneys and fresh fruit, with the signature jerk chicken grill at the heart of the restaurant.
The consumer appeal of the business is centred on this offer of spicy food, the emotional and flavour backdrop of the Caribbean (jerk spice, rum, reggae, relaxed and laid-back) and good value, with average spend per head being less than £20.
Piper’s investment in Turtle Bay has enabled its founders to realise some of the value they have created but retain a majority stake and have the necessary funding for the next stage of growth.
The story so far
|2010||Turtle Bay opens its first restaurant in Milton Keynes|
|2016||Opens first overseas site in Germany|
|2017||Turtle Bay grows to 36 sites|