Soba sets sights on seven more

Outside investment fuels a major expansion

Bar Soba founder and chief executive Brad Stevens.

GLASGOW-based bar and restaurant chain Bar Soba is preparing for a major expansion which will more than double its estate by opening a further seven venues in Scotland and the North of England.

The move is being backed by a £3 million investment by the Business Growth Fund (BGF) in Bar Soba, which currently trades five sites in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Leeds. The chain first opened its doors on Glasgow’s Mitchell Lane in 1999.

BGF is also said to have introduced the Soba team to the firm’s new chair, Mohan Mansigani.

Mansigani’s previous hospitality experience includes stints with a number of multiple operators including Casual Dining Group, the firm behind high street brands including Bella Italia, Las Iguanas and Café Rouge; Costa Coffee; TGI Fridays; and Pizza Hut.

Bar Soba founder and chief exec Brad Stevens reckons the investment, combined with Mansigani’s industry knowledge, can help turn the chain into a “truly national brand”.

“I’m really excited about our ambitious expansion plans and that we’ve found the right partner to provide the funding and expertise we need to accelerate our growth,” said Stevens.

“Expanding to 12 city centre locations will allow even more drinkers and diners to enjoy our combination of indulgent cocktails, freshly prepared street food inspired by the night markets of South East Asia and music.

“We have been researching locations we feel will suit the Bar Soba offering but are always open to hear ideas from others.”

BGF is an independent UK firm providing growth capital to small and medium-sized businesses. The firm is backed by five of the UK’s main banking groups with investment typically provided in the form of equity in return for a minority equity stake.

Other BGF investments in the leisure and hospitality sector include Mexican restaurant group Barburrito, tapas brand Camino, and Thai chain Giggling Squid.