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The Alchemist eyes global expansion

Published:  18 June, 2019

The Alchemist has said it expects to hit sales of £50m at the end of its financial year and plans to invest in further expansion in the UK and abroad.

It opened its 16th venue in Shoreditch in May, its fourth in London. It has four other sites in the pipeline, in Birmingham, Portsmouth and two others in London.

Originally founded in Manchester in 2010, it had an injection of cash from private equity firm Palatine in 2015 and began to grow its estate, which returned sales of £11.3m in 2015. It now expects to break the £50m barrier for the year to March 2020. Employee numbers have also risen from 200 to over 900.

“Although we had a brilliant concept when Palatine first backed us, we only operated three sites,” said managing director Simon Potts. “Working with private equity has really enabled us to achieve scale and build an infrastructure that supports a business of our size.

“Our growth has been very much down to identifying high performing sites across the big regional cities and establishing a presence in the capital, which has put the brand in front of an international audience. A global expansion has always been an ambition for the management team, and we will be targeting overseas opportunities in the next few years.

“Working with Palatine has been an incredible journey so far. They’re different to other investors in the way that they approach ESG initiatives and have helped us to create a sense of purpose within our business that both customers and staff are bought into.”

Gary Tipper, managing partner at Palatine Private Equity and non-executive director at The Alchemist, said: “Having a solid concept is one of the fundamentals in the hospitality sector. It’s not a case of just opening your doors, you need to have a proposition that the customer wants to engage with and that’s what makes The Alchemist stand out. The business has demonstrated its ability to buck the trend in an incredibly competitive marketplace and it is showing no signs of slowing down.”