Benito’s Hat has secured £1m from existing investors to fund a three-year growth plan.

The investment, the majority of which comes from private equity backer Calculus Capital, comes as the brand celebrates its 10th anniversary.

The investment is the work of recently appointed managing director Michael Pearson and team who have been developing and testing the new smaller format Benito’s Hat stores, as well as overhauling the brand’s visual identity and bolstering the central support team.

The company said that the new format stores were opening up growth opportunities in smaller footprints than Benito’s Hat has previously been capable of operating and this has meant potential franchising opportunities both in the UK and oversees.

One new London store and one home counties restaurant are currently under negotiation. The last nine months have seen small format Benito’s Hat’s opening up in Oxford Westgate and Leicester Highcross shopping centres, joining a portfolio that includes Goodge Street, Covent Garden, Oxford Circus, Bromley, Farringdon and King’s Cross.

Pearson said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for the Benito’s team and our ever supportive investors. Because of the challenging nature of the casual dining market, we’ve ensured that we can continue to grow by focusing on smaller footprint opportunities with our new model. Our business is in great shape thanks to the support of our investors and their confidence in our team to deliver our growth plan. Benito’s is now 10yrs old and we feel that now is the right time to grow, both through our own high street stores in the UK, and franchised stores. I’m delighted to be leading such a talented and passionate team and look forward to seeing the results of all our hard work over the coming 2 to 3 years.”

Calculus Capital’s deputy chief executive and head of portfolio management, Robert Davis said: “Michael and the team have identified an array of growth opportunities especially around the franchised store and key travel hubs. We’re excited to be further supporting Benito’s next phase of growth so that they can continue bringing fresh, authentic, affordable Mexican food to the market.”

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