Piper exits Hickory’s to Greene King

We are delighted to announce our exit from Hickory’s, the UK’s leading BBQ smokehouse restaurant group, to pub retailer and brewer Greene King.

Founded in 2010 by Neil McDonnell, Hickory’s is a family friendly, smokehouse and BBQ restaurant group with a strong focus on food quality and authenticity. Meats are slow cooked for up to 12 hours on smokers specially imported from Memphis in the US. Guests are offered a unique dining experience (chef’s tables, dining verandas, cinemas, children’s play areas) coupled with an emphasis on exceptional guest service.

In October 2014, Piper invested £6m into Hickory’s to support the roll out of sites across the Midlands and North West expanding from five to 17 restaurants during the period of investment and growing revenues by more than four times.

We had a wonderful journey with the team, evolving its look and feel to draw out the brand’s DNA; creating a strong team culture, rewarded with coming first in the UK’s Best Companies to Work For; and lovingly converting local pubs into community hubs.

The team treated their guests as family, whether it be hosting a breakfast for the one hundred firefighters who put out the fire at the Wall Heath restaurant or holding the UK’s biggest superbowl parties. You will never experience a better welcome as with Hickory’s.

The partnership between Greene King and Hickory’s supports their ambitious plans to bring the Hickory’s to many more guests across the UK. The business will continue to be run by the existing management team, led by John Welsh as CEO, and will remain based at its HQ in Chester. Paul Campbell is stepping down as Chairman and we want to extend a big thank you to him for his brilliant stewardship of the business.

Hickory’s founder Neil McDonnell said: ‘We are delighted to have this investment from Greene King which enables us to bring the Hickory’s offer to many more guests and will provide our teams with fantastic opportunities for growth and development. We are extremely grateful to the team at Piper for all their expertise and support, not least during the pandemic, in helping us build Hickory’s and enabling so many more guests to enjoy our unique experience.’

Libby Gibson, of Piper, said: ‘We knew from the moment we met Neil, John and the Hickory’s team that it’s a very special brand and we’re delighted to have played a part in its journey. During even the most challenging times, the business has been able to expand and adapt its offering and we’ve no doubt it has the potential to grow much further across the UK. We wish the entire team well for the future.’