Alternative asset group Bridgepoint is to take a minority stake in Asian-inspired food brand Itsu, with plans to grow the restaurant brand by 100 new outlets in the UK over the next five years.
Bridgepoint will provide "substantial investment" towards the new sites. Total sales for the group in 2022 are forecast to be more than £170m, and the target of 100 new sites will mean the group is looking to recruit for 2,000 new jobs.
Itsu‘s founder Julian Metcalfe, a co-founder of Pret A Manger, which Bridgepoint also once held a stake in, said: "We are thrilled to be teaming up with Bridgepoint again after our success together at Pret a Manger during the dynamic 2008-2018 era. We've spent months in lockdown working with them to ensure Itsu will be well-funded for long-term growth. Never before has enjoying healthy, nutritious food been so uppermost in customers minds."
He added the brand was slowly getting back to pre-pandemic customer visits and that Itsu's sites outside of London are already busier than before. It plans to reopen the remaining centrally located stores that have been closed since last September shortly.
Benoit Alteirac, partner of Bridgepoint, said: "We see a global opportunity for Itsu. Their standout offer is an exciting and contemporary attitude to healthy and nutritious food with nearly 40% of it being plant-based. Itsu combines affordable, convenient, and fresh food with an outstanding operational model coupled with deep-rooted brand values. We recognise their time is now and their ambition, goals and purpose are so relevant in this post-pandemic era."
Itsu has 74 restaurants across the UK and is building new restaurants in Reading, St Albans and Holborn in London as well as Belgium.