BBQ group Hickory's Smokehouse has received £6m in investment to help support its expansion plans.
First founded in 2010 by Neil McDonnell, Hickory's is expecting to open ten new restaurants in the next three to five years. It received the cash injection from private equity firm Piper.
The investment deal also saw Paul Campbell join as chairman, adding to his other non-executive roles within hospitality, including Hawksmoor, Vinoteca, Tortilla and the New World Trading Company.
Hickory's currently has three 5,000 sq ft sites, comprising Chester, West Kirby in the Wirral and Rhos-on-Sea in Wales. It is hoping to open at least 100 sites across the UK in the longer term.
The group serves smokehouse style meats, which are slow-cooked for 12 hours in smokers imported from Memphis, Tennessee. It also offers breakfast, American-inspired desserts, milkshakes, homemade soft drinks, slushies, original cocktails, floats, and a wide selection of beers. There are also chef's tables, and play areas for children.
Hickory's founder Neil McDonnell said: "I know we will benefit from [Piper's] extensive knowledge and experience of the sector, and have already seen the value it can bring to bear, so I am confident that together we will continue to build Hickory's into a uniquely valuable business."
Piper stated that it had been tracking the BBQ sector for some time, and that Hickory's had built a strong reputation that had wide potential across the UK.
The investment is the fifth to come from Piper's £107m fund, of which three are also in the hospitality sector: Be At One, Loungers and Turtle Bay. Previous sector investments include the development of Las Iguanas, and Pitcher & Piano.
Smokehouses and BBQ-style restaurants have been on the increase in recent months, with some reports into the casual dining sector suggesting that American-style BBQ and ribs may be gaining popularity at the expense of the previously-dominant burgers and pizza.