Eclectic Bar Group could expand to 50 sites “quite easily” and Lola Lo, its Polynesian concept, is likely to be its biggest growth brand, chief executive Reuben Harley has told M&C Report.
The 21-strong group yesterday announced the acquisition of Lowlander Grand Cafe in London’s Covent Garden, along with the Lowlander brand, for £850,000, representing a multiple of 3.7x EBITDA; site EBITDA is c£230,000.
The concept, which focuses on Belgium beers and food and has a significant daytime trade, has been identified by Eclectic as one of its four formats for growth.
Harley said he expects the company, which last year floated on the Alternative Investment Market, to be “selective” with the number of sites that could suit that format, although it could work inside and outside major cities. “I can see it going to St Albans and places like that - smaller and bigger locations,” he said.
The company would also be selective for another growth concept, Sakura, which currently operates in Reading and Manchester. Dirty Blonde, the American speakeasy format that opens this week in Brighton, would work in “a few [locations], if that”.
The other growth concept is the Polynesian-themed Lola Lo. “We’ve got 10 of them. We can see a lot more of those. We understand them completely and the consumer really understands the concept.”
The next Lola Lo opens on 1 April at the former Coyote Wild in Derby; Eclectic bought the freehold of the unit from Premium Bars & Restaurants last year. The 800-capacity venue will be the second Lola Lo to offer food, after Deansgate in Manchester.
Eclectic, which yesterday announced that it had extended its banking facilities from £1.5m to £5m, plans to secure two or three sites per year.
“I think could quite easily get to 30 in about three years,” said Harley. “We are already slightly ahead of the curve; we’ve done four this year.
“[Eclectic could get] up to 50 quite easily I would have though; it depends how they come.”
He added: “It’s more about quality rather than quantity for us. That’s not to say there’s not enough to accelerate the programme, but it’s not going to be to the detriment of the business.”