Piper has made a significant investment in Hickory’s Smokehouse.
Hickory’s is an American style, family friendly smokehouse and BBQ restaurant chain, with a strong focus on food quality and authenticity. Meats are slow cooked for up to 12 hours on smokers specially imported from Memphis. Guests are offered a unique dining experience (chef’s tables, milkshake bars, children’s play areas) coupled with an emphasis on exceptional customer service.
Hickory’s is the brainchild of Neil McDonnell, who founded the business in 2010 following extensive research into the smokehouse sector in the US. The chain operates from large 5,000 sq ft sites and has three units in Chester, West Kirby and Rhos-on-Sea. Hickory’s plans to open a further 10 restaurants over the next three to five years.
Piper is investing £6m to support the roll out – the fifth investment from its £107m, fifth fund. Three of these investments, Be At One, Loungers and Turtle Bay, are also in the hospitality space – a sector in which Piper, as original founder of the Pitcher & Piano chain, has unrivalled expertise.
Hickory’s founder Neil McDonnell said: ‘We are delighted to have selected Piper as our partner. I know we will benefit from their extensive knowledge and experience of the sector, and have already seen the value they can bring to bear so I am confident that together we will continue to build Hickory’s into a uniquely valuable business’.
Peter Kemp-Welch, of Piper, said: ‘We have been tracking the BBQ segment for some time, and approached Hickory’s after learning about its outstanding reputation amongst their customers. Hickory’s provides them with a truly authentic dining experience and Neil has already built a highly experienced management team around him to support the growth of the business. We believe there is an enormous market opportunity for the brand, with the potential for at least 100 Hickorys across the UK.’
As part of the deal, industry veteran Paul Campbell, has joined as chairman, adding to his other non-executive interests in the hospitality space that include Hawksmoor, Vinoteca, Tortilla and New World Trading Company.