English operator Arc Inspirations secures capital and looks north

Arc Inspiration’s BOX venue in Nottingham

Arc Inspirations, operator of bar brands Banyan, BOX and Manahatta in the Midlands and the North of England, is to accelerate its expansion across the UK with a £7million investment fund – and its next opening will be its first in Scotland.

This week, the company announced that it has secured a £4million loan from HSBC UK, alongside a £3m equity injection from its shareholders, including equity investor BGF, which has backed the business since 2022.

That pot of money is pump-priming for the group’s plan to deliver at least four new openings per year over the next five years, alongside ‘a major programme of exciting new refurbishments’ at its existing Manahatta sites. 

Manahatta in Sheffield

But of most immediate relevance to the Scottish trade is the planned summer opening of Arc Inspirations debut Scottish site – Manahatta Edinburgh, which will be that brand’s tenth UK venue, promising a ‘glamorous, exciting cocktail bar perfect for glam get-togethers and everyday escapism’.

Commenting on these plans, Arc co-founder and CEO Martin Wolstencroft, said: “We’re grateful to the HSBC UK team and to our shareholders who continue to believe in our business and support us on our ambitious growth journey.

“Together we have achieved a number of key milestones, with four successful new site openings in 2023, and our most successful festive period to date. Each success is testament to our team and culture, and I thank each and every member of our team as we continue to build what we believe is the best bar business in the country.”

BOX Nottingham

The company is also eyeing further launches in London, Liverpool, and Cardiff in 2024, creating around 300 new jobs this year, which could develop into long-term careers, as its team members at all levels are able to take advantage of ‘industry-leading’ training and development programmes.

Head of Retail & Leisure at HSBC UK, James Sawley, said: “Arc Inspirations is a homegrown success story and we’re delighted to build on our relationship and provide further investment to this resilient and ambitious business.“

Arc has already achieved impressive scale, and our support has enabled Martin and his team to deliver significant growth in recent years. With a strong balance sheet, outstanding leadership team and proven concepts, we are confident in Arc’s ability to succeed in new, untapped markets across the UK, and we wish the team every success with the next stage of their exciting growth plans.”

Manahatta Sheffield

Last year, Arc Inspirations opened BOX sites in Nottingham and Birmingham, as well as two Manahattas in Newcastle and Sheffield. The group operates a cluster model, running premium large-scale bar sites, under complementary brands in key cities.

It currently employs 1000 people and its growth plans should see it recruit a similar number again over the next three-to-five years.