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Wed 15th Apr 2015 - Big Easy withdraws £3m mini-bond after investor approaches
Big Easy withdraws £3m mini-bond after investor approaches: Big Easy, the US-style barbecue and lobster shack restaurant with three sites in London, has withdrawn its mini-bond offer after receiving approaches from a variety of investors. It had been looking to raise £3m through a 8% interest three-year mini-bond. The company had around £700,000 pledged with a week or so of the offer left to go on crowdfunding website Crowdcube. Managing director Noel D’Arcy told Propel that the company would take some time to consider its options now after receiving a number of investment approaches. He said: “It’s been an overwhelming couple of weeks with interest in investing in the business from private equity, high net worth global investors and others. The level of interest from this variety of sources has taken us by surprise and we took the decision to withdraw the mini-bond yesterday. The guys at Crowdcube had been very encouraging and very comfortable with the progress we had made with the mini-bond compared to other businesses that had gone this route.” Big Easy wants to spend £3m on a new 11,000 square foot restaurant in Canary Wharf that is projected to produce £10.5m of annual sales. D’Arcy said the company has other finance in place to open the Canary Wharf site which is still on track to the middle to late summer. Big Easy has reported that its three existing sites, including one in Covent Garden and one on the Kings Road, are set to turn over £13,282,000 this year. The company also previously reported that it had heads of terms agreed on lending of £4.75m from a major high street bank if its mini-bond fails to hit the target. The original Big Easy on the Kings Road has delivered 6% like-for-like compound growth for 20 years. The second Big Easy opened in March 2014 and is set for £6.5m of annualised sales in the first year. The proposed Canary Wharf site, for which it holds a signed 15-year lease, will have 300 covers inside and 100 covers on an outdoor terrace with views over the water – it will be the first Big Easy site that opens at 7am for breakfast. A potential investor via Crowdcube had questioned whether Big Easy’s proposed 11,000 sq ft Canary Wharf restaurant could really turn over its projected £10.5m a year. The Crowdcube member said: “I would expect the flow of customers to be high in the weekday but significantly lower at weekends than perhaps Kings Road and Covent Garden. The Wharf and the City are both quiet at weekends. If the sales in the Wharf are £10.5m in 2017, that is £201,000 per week, £28,000 per day (assuming seven days of trading). From my experience, each customer spends approx. £25 to £30 per head. These numbers suggest you need to turn the 300-400 tables over three times a day, seven days a week (£28,000 at £30 spend-per-head equals 933 customers). Is this in line with other restaurants? Could this turnover be achieved in weekdays and weekends?” A spokesman for Big Easy replied: “You are correct in stating that the flow of customers at weekends would be different from the Kings Road and Covent Garden restaurants. The profile of sales throughout the week will be dramatically different with Thursday and Friday taking a significant share of the week’s sales.” Big Easy was founded by Paul Corrett, who is currently chairman. Mayuri Vachhani, who has worked at Ed’s Easy Diner and McDonald’s, is finance director. Kevin Todd, the former Mitchells & Butlers executive and Rosinter managing director, has joined as non-executive director. 

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