Luke Johnson, the serial restaurant investor, has taken a substantial minority stake in Draft House, the three-strong London-based pub concept founded by Charlie McVeigh, M&C Report has learnt.
Johnson, who is set to become chairman of the business, has personally invested an undisclosed sum in the company, which he described to M&C Report as a “great business, which has tremendous potential”.
He said: “I rate Charlie, he is a good operator and there is a good team behind the business. Draft House is an interesting and distinctive proposition, which makes it an attractive opportunity.”
It is thought that a fourth site for the business, which has a wet/dry split of 60/40, is close to being agreed, with several further possible openings in London thought to be in the pipeline.
The first Draft House was launched in Northcote Road, Clapham in November 2009 by McVeigh, the former owner of the Bush Bar & Grill, Woody’s nightclub and the Grand Union pub in London.
The concept, which offers a diverse range of British and international beers, has since been rolled out to further sites in Battersea and near Tower Bridge.
Johnson’s investment in Draft House marks his first move into the pub sector since he held stakes in Punch Taverns and Wellington Pub Company in the 1990s.
He said: “The whole eating and drinking-out sector is in a constant state of flux and there are huge market challenges but there are also opportunities especially if the concept is new and different.”
The former owner of Pizza Express and founder of Strada is one of the most successful and influential investors in the restaurant sector. He currently has personal stakes in the six-strong Feng Sushi chain and 3Sixty Restaurants.
Through his investment vehicle, Risk Capital Partners, Johnson also holds majority stakes in Giraffe, Patisserie Holdings and Gail’s Artisan Bakery.