11 June 2019
Tonkotsu, the Emma Reynolds and Ken Yamada-founded ramen restaurant group plans expansion after partnering with investment firm YFM Equity Partners (“YFM”)
The group, which is led by Managing Director, Stephen Evans, operates nine restaurants in London and one in Selfridges Birmingham, with two more due to open later this year in Peckham and Shoreditch.
Reynolds and Yamada continue to be involved in the business, and Yamada says, “this partnership will allow us to grow our business, enabling us to open a handful more Tonkotsus. Our commitment to the quality of our food, our homemade noodles and the way we treat our people, who are the heart of this business, has been fundamental from day one. We chose YFM as our partner as we felt they shared our ambition to grow the business in the right way to maintain the culture and the brand”.
Entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den star Sarah Willingham, formerly of Pizza Express and Bombay Bicycle Club, will Chair the business. She says, “Tonkotsu’s ramen is the best I have ever tasted, and I’ve been a huge fan for many years. I love the culture and look forward to working with Emma, Ken and the highly-motivated management team, led by Stephen.”
Stephen Evans added “the casual dining sector is experiencing some well documented issues, but the partnership with YFM is proof that well-run brands, with a distinct and value-led offering, continue to attract investment. This is an exciting time for us, our financial performance over the last 12 months has been strong, and this additional investment from YFM will allow us to continue to grow and bring our ramen to a greater audience”.
Funds advised by YFM the specialist private equity fund manager are investing £5M in Tonkotsu for a minority stake. YFM has a track record of backing businesses across all sectors in the UK. Mike Clarke and Jamie Roberts led the investment for YFM. Mike Clarke commented:
“The team have done a fantastic job in building the company, a unique brand and a loyal customer base despite real challenges to the restaurant sector. We are delighted to be working with Tonkotsu to support their continued growth over the coming years.” YFM’s has other investments in the consumer market including Friska and Frescobol Carioca and YFM’s previous investments in the sector include – Go Outdoors and Gill Marine.
YFM’s legal advice was provided by Jon Gill at TLT LLP, Organisational Review by Anna Cornwallis of Stratton HR, Tax structuring by Phil Snell of James Cowper Kreston and Financial Due Diligence by Stephen Reed of Price Bailey.
Will Baxter, DSW and Grant Thornton acted as lead advisor to Tonkotsu, and Tim Bird of Field Fisher provided legal advice.