Lifestyle Hospitality Group (LHG), the South West-based pub and restaurant operator, hopes to grow to 30 franchise sites for its Tiger Bills concept over the next three years and has been in preliminary discussions with private equity about investing in the business, managing director James Eyre has told M&C Report. Eyre also said he hoped to commence franchise rollout for three other LHG brands - a two-strong cider bar concept called Apple & Parrot, an American pool hall called Fast Eddies, and Bombay Bills, an Indian take on Tiger Bills - once the current franchise venture is proven to be successful. LHG revealed today that Craig Lewis, former Greene King operations director and senior operations manager at Pubmaster, has become the first Tiger Bills franchisee and is set to open his first site off Birmingham’s Broad Street this month. Lewis’ target is to have 10 to 12 sites across the Midlands. Eyre said LHG is in discussion with two other “serious business people” about becoming franchisees. The aim is to have franchisees with multiple sites in each region, with one in discussion for the Dorset, Hampshire and M4 corridor region. However, single-site franchises are not ruled out, and one has been secured in Newcastle. Eyre said the aim was to have four franchised Tiger Bills in operation by the end of this year. “We are going to exceed that,” he added. “I would expect this business to grow to about 30 in the next three years.” LHG has also appointed an international franchise manager, Patrick Mauser, located in Thailand. Eyre said the aim is to have the first international franchisee signed up this year, with Singapore and Africa generating the most interest. Asked if he was in discussion with private equity groups about investments, Eyre replied: “Absolutely. “The franchised business is a very strong one, with proven KPIs that work. “I’m in discussions with various parties with that in mind anyway. At the moment it’s proving that the strategy works and in the next 18 months or so I’ll look to talk to them [about funding].” He said franchise is a “much safer financial model” for investors than alternatives. A Tiger Bills franchise costs c£47,000 per site, which features a “huge support package” including full point-of-sale material and mystery diner audits. Eyre said he expects the concept to evolve as it expands through franchising, highlighting the input that he expects from Lewis, who has an extensive background in the sector.