Loungers, which runs 146 café/bar/restaurants across England and Wales under the Lounge and Cosy Club brands, has announced plans to float on the AIM market later this month.
The company, founded in Bristol in 2002 by friends Alex Reilley, Jake Bishop and Dave Reid and currently backed by Lion Capital, is expected to float with a value of around £250m.
It has grown rapidly since 2002 under both brands, often selecting secondary sites in locations not favoured by larger restaurant brands. It has also so far avoided opening sites within London. By the end of 2019, it expected to have opened 25 more venues and aims to keep opening 25 sites a year over the medium term, of which 20 are expected to be Lounges and five Cosy Clubs.
Despite the struggles of some operators in the casual dining sector, the firm has reported 6.4% like-for-like sales growth in the 24 weeks to 7th October 2018.
Two of the original founders, Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop, remain active in the group, which is run by chief executive Nick Collins.
The business said its admission to AIM would “position the group strongly for the next stage of its development, further raising the profile of the group, assisting in attracting and retaining employees through appropriate incentive arrangements and providing it with an appropriate structure for future growth”.
Nick Collins, chief executive of Loungers, said: “I am delighted to announce our intention to list on AIM. It has long been the ambition of the founders and myself that Loungers becomes a listed entity. The listing will allow us to broaden the employee shareholder base and provide us with an appropriate capital structure to pursue our future growth ambitions.
“Loungers is the only growing all-day operator of scale within the UK hospitality sector. Our relaxed, casual, home from home proposition which combines coffee shop, pub and restaurant across our two complementary brands – Lounge and Cosy Club – resonates with today’s consumer, attracting broad demographic appeal in a diverse range of trading locations.”