Exited in 2017

Loungers is an innovative chain of informal, neighbourhood all-day café bars that provide customers with a ‘third space’ between work and home, to meet, chat, eat and drink in a relaxed atmosphere, on the local High Street.

It was started in 2002 by a trio of longstanding friends, Alex Reilley, Jake Bishop and Dave Reid who opened their first site in Bristol, a city that now supports a total of six Lounges.

A second chain, Cosy Club, has been developed to offer customers a similar solution in city centres, with 20 sites now opened across the UK.

The team at Loungers wanted to de-risk their personal stakes in the business by selling a significant minority stake. Piper’s investment and support have enabled the business to rapidly scale the Loungers and Cosy Club businesses, taking advantage of unit vacancies and rental deals. Piper have also helped by undertaking demographic analysis of sites to underpin the roll out programme; conducting customer research to further develop and define the Cosy Club proposition; growing the team; and creating a world class development programme for managers using a third party introduced by Piper. Since investment, Loungers have achieved rapid growth, going from 12 sites at investment to over 100 by 2017.

There is no sense of they’re Piper and we’re Management, we are one team. This is testimony to Piper’s style, they are a good blend of people which sits them apart from everybody. They are so insightful and very experienced in the sector

Alex Reilley, Co-Founder & MD, Loungers

The journey

2002 The first Lounge site opened in Bristol
2011 The first three Cosy Club units are opened
2012 Piper invests. Crispin Tweddell, Chairman of Piper becomes Chairman of Loungers. Nick Collins joins the team as Finance Director. A further 5 lounges and 2 Cosy Clubs are opened. Annual growth + 40%
2013 Roll out is accelerated; additional debt facilities raised, menu development and the people development pipeline are a key focus.
2016 Piper exits Loungers in a deal valuing the business at £137m

Piper Podcast Series: Alex Reilley of Loungers

[24 Apr 2018] - Alex Reilley tells us about how a ‘Game of Thrones’ approach to business, which involved defining ‘the Cause’, enabled him and his team to turn…

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Current investments