Piper has taken a significant stake in Turtle Bay, the fast growing Caribbean restaurant group.
Turtle Bay is the brainchild of Aj Jaya-Wickrema, who co-founded Las Iguanas, a previous Piper investment. Piper helped Las Iguanas grow from a regional operator of four restaurants into Britain’s market leading Latin American chain, delivering a 6x multiple on its investment on exit in 2007.
Turtle Bay, which promises ‘to transport you to the Caribbean without a plane ticket’, offers authentic food and drink inspired by the islands’ vibrant culture. The first site opened in Milton Keynes in 2011, followed by restaurants in Bristol, Nottingham and Southampton. The business plans to open a further 20 outlets over the next three to five years.
Piper is investing £6m in Turtle Bay, the third investment it has made from its £107m, fifth fund. The previous two investments, Be At One and Loungers, are also in the restaurants and bars market – a sector in which Piper, as original founder of the Pitcher & Piano chain, has knowledge and experience.
Turtle Bay founder Aj Jaya-Wickrema said: ‘I’m delighted to be working with the Piper team. Their deep-rooted experience and understanding of the sector has meant we have been able to complete this deal in a very tight time frame. For me, this was hugely important in ensuring the deal didn’t distract management from our focus on building Turtle Bay into a successful national brand. With Piper’s ongoing support I am confident that we will create a uniquely valuable business”.
Peter Kemp-Welch, of Piper, stated: ‘We have been tracking consumers’ interests in different ethnic food tastes, particularly those with more spice, and so have watched Turtle progress from the first opening. Aj has once again created a unique and dynamic offering with huge growth potential in a sector that continues to thrive and innovate. This is the first time Piper has had an opportunity to back a founder for a second time, and we take it as a great compliment that Aj has chosen to work with us again. We look forward to helping Turtle Bay spread the Caribbean vibe across the country.’