Côte Restaurants is an award-winning restaurant group serving simple, freshly prepared French food at value-for-money prices in its brasserie-style locations. We identified an opportunity to back the experienced management team and help them achieve their ambitions to grow the business by opening new locations. At the same time, we understood that an effective operational infrastructure would play a crucial role in ensuring high quality food and service, through what would be a time of significant growth.
We invested in Côte in September 2013, providing capital to facilitate the organic growth plans of the business. We introduced significant enhancements to the company’s operational infrastructure, such as a new state-of-the art development kitchen to underpin the quality of the food offering and a new focus on the training, welfare and career opportunities for Côte’s employees, in order to maintain the company’s reputation for excellent service. We also invested in improved financial analysis and KPIs to track business performance, and bolstered the management team, particularly in the areas of finance and operations.
Under our ownership, the Côte estate grew by more than 50%, from 44 to 67 locations, while the number of employees rose by 1,300 and EBITDA increased by 60%. Throughout this period of dramatic growth, excellent performance was maintained across the entire business, with no sites reporting a loss.
In July 2015, we realised our investment through a secondary sale to BC Partners, generating a return of 2.9x invested capital at an IRR of 78%.