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S&M chain eyes future in catering and retail

30 June 2005
S&M chain eyes future in catering and retail

London's S&M (Sausage & Mash) caf chain has refinanced in a drive to expand the business and move into outside catering and retail.

S&M chief executive and founder Kevin Finch has teamed up with ex-Groupe Chez Grard boss and now S&M director David Williams to buy the micro-chain of three cafs back from shareholders.

The sale, for an undisclosed sum, was backed by HSBC. The company now operates under the holding company, Meterplace.

Finch said the group was hoping to raise 600,000-700,000 development equity to expand the chain, with plans for three new London sites over the next year, for which Camden and Fulham are prime targets.

S&M also hopes to launch an outside catering division within the next six to 12 months. "We're looking to put our grub into targeted event situations, like horse races, music and sporting events," said Finch.

The chain's third target is retail, with plans for branded S&M food products, including sausages and classic British puddings, in specialist food retailers.

Plans announced in January to float the business on the Alternative Investment Market have been abandoned.

Finch bought his first site - the Sausage and Mash restaurant in Notting Hill's Portobello Road - in 2002 as a platform to develop "the quintessential British caf concept".

A second site opened on Essex Road, Islington, in 2003 and a third in Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, later the same year. A fourth site, in Acton, lasted only a few months before closing in September 2004.

The group was founded after Finch sold seven restaurants, including the south-west American-themed Montana, to the Hartford Group in 1999.

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