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Mon 6th Aug 2018 - Benito's Hat secures £1m to fuel UK growth
Benito’s Hat secures £1m to fuel UK growth: Mexican restaurant Benito’s Hat has secured £1m to fund a three-year growth plan in London and throughout the UK. Coinciding with the brand’s tenth anniversary, the investment comes entirely from existing investors, the majority of which comes from private equity investment firm Calculus Capital. The investment is the work of recently appointed managing director Michael Pearson and his team, which has been developing and testing the new smaller-format Benito’s Hat sites, revitalising the brand’s visual identity and bolstering the central support team. This follows Ben Fordham’s departure at the end of 2017 as he fulfilled a long promise to his Texan wife to move to the States. The new-format stores are opening up growth opportunities in smaller footprints than Benito’s Hat has previously been capable of operating and this has meant potential franchising opportunities both in the UK and oversees, the company said. One new London store and one Home Counties restaurant are currently under negotiation. During the past nine months, small-format Benito’s Hat sites have opened in Oxford Westgate and Leicester Highcross shopping centres, joining a portfolio that includes Goodge Street, Covent Garden, Oxford Circus, Bromley, Farringdon and King’s Cross. Pearson said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for the Benito’s team and our ever supportive investors. Because of the challenging nature of the casual dining market, we’ve ensured we can continue to grow by focusing on smaller footprint opportunities with our new model. Our business is in great shape thanks to the support of our investors and their confidence in our team to deliver our growth plan. Benito’s is now ten years old and we feel now is the right time to grow, both through our own high-street stores in the UK, and franchised stores. I’m delighted to be leading such a talented and passionate team and look forward to seeing the results of all our hard work over the coming two to three years.” Calculus Capital deputy chief executive and head of portfolio management Robert Davis added: “Michael and the team have identified an array of growth opportunities, especially around the franchised store and key travel hubs. We’re excited to further support Benito’s next phase of growth so it can continue bringing fresh, authentic, affordable Mexican food to the market.” Benito’s Hat was founded by Fordham and Mexican chef Felipe Fuentes Cruz in 2008.

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