Venture capital company Alchemy Partners has snapped up a majority stake of 60% in the Fatty Arbuckles US diner chain in a deal believed to be worth £5m.
The new funds will be used to increase the number of Fatty Arbuckles in leisure parks. New executive chairman Ric Belfield said that, in common with Deep Pan Pizza, the company had found leisure parks more profitable than town centres.
While Fatty Arbuckles does not plan to open many more in cities, Belfield said there would be some exceptions where a leisure complex existed, including a new site at Bexleyheath, Kent, this September.
The company now operates 19 restaurants itself, turning over some £11m a year, and 30 franchised outlets with annual sales of £14m.
The new management team includes continuing managing director Adrian Lee; Belfield, who has been managing director of stationers Rymans and a consultant to Granada; new chief operating officer John Morrison, who has worked at Granada, Little Chef and City Centre Restaurants; and non-executive director Amanda Shipman from Alchemy.
Fatty Arbuckles represents Alchemy's 19th investment since its formation in January 1997.
Recently it bought the five-strong Paramount Hotels group and three former Forte properties for a combined £77m (Caterer, 4 June, page 8).