Barracuda Group Limited


0845 345 2528

Website: (Opens in New Window)


Barracuda owns and manages mid-sized pubs and large bars in affluent suburbs, community locations and university centres. Its modus operandi is to grow by buying existing pubs and by creating new sites from unlicensed premises. The group started with backing from PPM Ventures, the venture capital arm of insurer Prudential, but secured new funding in 2005 from Charterhouse Capital Partners.

The group uses five brand names - Smith & Jones, Varsity, Barracuda Bars, Juniper Inns, and Cape.



  • July 2000: Barracuda Group is formed with the acquisition of 35 pubs from Enterprise Inns for £50m, with backing from venture capital firm PPM Ventures. It is set up by four investing directors led by chief executive Mark McQuater, a former managing director at JD Wetherspoons, Greenalls Pubs and Restaurants, and Tom Cobleigh.
  • October 2000:  The group buys the Ambishus Pub Company for £36.5m, which adds 61 managed pubs to the portfolio. These are predominantly in London, and include the Smith & Jones brand.
  • September 2001: The group buys 50 pubs and bars from Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries for £37.25m. They include 22 Varsity bars.
  • October 2002: Barracuda buys eight pubs from the administrators of Old Monk for £8.2m.
  • July 2004: Barrucuda makes its first foray into Scotland with the opening of a £1.5m pub in Perth.
  • June 2005:  Thegroup secures new backing from Charterhouse Capital Partners through a £262m secondary buy-out in which the management team retains a share in the business.
  • June-July 2005: Barracuda opens its first two Juniper Inns,  in Newcastle and Sunderland. It plans to extend the new concept initially to the remaining 44 unbranded pubs in its estate.
  • September 2006: Barracuda announces that it will use its £35m war chest to almost double its presence in the next five years to 300 venues by adding 30 new pubs a year to the estate.
  • March 2007: Barracude raises £40m in extra funding for expansion from the Royal Bank of Scotland in its first financial structuring since the secondary management buy-out in June 2005.
  • April 2007: Barracuda launches its fifth brand, Cape, in Nottingham. Like Barracuda Bars, Cape is a South African-themed brand but will focus on food rather than sports. 
  • April 2007: The new Paramount pub in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, becomes the group's 200th outlet and its 100th Smith & Jones bar.

Chief Executive:

Mark McQuater

Key People:

Operations director: Graham Jones
Property director: Steve Price
Finance director: Nick Morgan
Human resources director: Jane Bliss




“This bolsters the existing openings across the UK and by late summer we hope to have doubled our estate in Scotland as well as be on track to open a further 30 properties each year until we reach our target of 300.”

Source: Chief executive on the raising of £40m in extra funding, March 2007

Operating Data:

Number of pubs: 202 (at August 2006)

Number of pubs by brand: 
Smith & Jones: 100
Juniper: 42
Varsity: 36
Barracuda Bar: 23
Cape: 1

Number of employees: more than 4,000

Smith & Jones is an upmarket authentic pub brand
Varsity focuses on the student market
Barracuda Bars is a South African-themed sports chain
Cape is a South African-themed chain that focuses on food
Juniper Inns is a chain of neighourhood pubs in high street and community locations  

Financial Snapshot:

Turnover: £127.1m (2005: £108.8m)
Branch EBITDA: £32.2m (2005: £29.3m)
Gross profit: £91.7m (2005: £77.8m)

Financial year-end: 30 September 2006


Lunar House, Globe Park
Fieldhouse Lane