Investment firm Capdesia Group has acquired a minority stake in Japanese-style grab-and-go chain Wasabi to fund an expansion and refurbishment programme.
Founded in 2003, Wasabi has 55 sites in the UK, five in the US and has recently expanded into the ready meal market following an exclusive arrangement with Sainsbury’s.
The injection of cash will enable Wasabi to grow its portfolio in the UK and US, refurbish existing stores and develop other commercial opportunities. It follows on from a £30m investment in the brand from HSBC announced in March 2018.
Wasabi founder, Dong Hyun Kim, said: “I am extremely proud of what the team at Wasabi has achieved over the last 15 years, from the first days at Camden Market right up to today, and I’m incredibly grateful to all those who have contributed to our story so far.
“I have always believed in the potential of the Wasabi brand and I wanted to share that experience with more customers every day. I am pleased to have found the right partner to help us to continue our journey and we look forward to taking Wasabi to the next stage of expansion with Capdesia.”
Ashton Crosby, co-founder and managing director of Capdesia, added “As sector specialist investors, we seek to partner with exceptional entrepreneurs in fast growing branded food-service chains across Europe. We invest flexible growth capital to support founders and operators and utilise our team’s decades of international operating experience and deep industry knowledge to help accelerate our portfolio companies’ growth, both domestically and abroad.”
“In Wasabi, we identified a robust core business with above-average site-level economics and strong customer loyalty that is benefitting from the changing consumer demand towards healthier food and faster speed of service. We were immediately struck by the quality of its food, its competitive price point and its lean and scalable operating model.”
Co-investors in the transaction are Sushiro Global Holdings, Japan’s largest publicly listed sushi chain operator, and Regis Group, a US and UK asset manager.