Tonkotsu ramen restaurant group is set to receive a £5m injection towards its expansion from investment firm YFM Equity Partners.
YFM is investing £5m for a minority stake in Tonkotsu, with Mike Clarke and Jamie Roberts leading the investment. The group’s other investments include Friska, Go Outdoors and Gill Marine.
Founders Emma Reynolds and Ken Yamada and managing director Stephen Evans continue to be involved in the business and plan to open “a handful more” sites, with entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den star Sarah Willingham set to chair the group.
The group has nine sites in London, with two more set to open in Peckham in August and Shoreditch, and one site in Selfridges Birmingham.
Yamada said the partnership “will allow us to grow our business”, adding that they chose YFM “as we felt they shared our ambition to grow the business in the right way to maintain the culture and the brand.”
Evans added: “The casual dining sector is experiencing some well-documented issues, but the partnership with YFM is proof that well-run brands, with a distinct and value-led offering, continue to attract investment. This is an exciting time for us, our financial performance over the last 12 months has been strong, and this additional investment from YFM will allow us to continue to grow and bring our ramen to a greater audience.”
Willingham, formerly of PizzaExpress and Bombay Bicycle Club, said: “Tonkotsu’s ramen is the best I have ever tasted, and I’ve been a huge fan for many years. I love the culture and look forward to working with Emma, Ken and the highly-motivated management team, led by Stephen.”
Clarke added: “The team have done a fantastic job in building the company, a unique brand and a loyal customer base, despite real challenges to the restaurant sector. We are delighted to be working with Tonkotsu to support its continued growth over the coming years.”
YFM’s legal advice was provided by Jon Gill at TLT, organisational review by Anna Cornwallis of Stratton HR, tax structuring by Phil Snell of James Cowper Kreston and financial due diligence by Stephen Reed of Price Bailey. Will Baxter, DSW and Grant Thornton acted as lead advisor to Tonkotsu, and Tim Bird of Field Fisher provided legal advice.