Hickory’s acquired by Greene King

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Deal done: Greene King has bought multi-site operator Hickory's
Deal done: Greene King has bought multi-site operator Hickory's

Related tags Multi-site pub operators Finance Pubco + head office Greene king

North west-based business Hickory’s has been acquired by Greene King for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in 2010 by Neil McDonnell, Hickory’s has 17 sites across the north west and Midlands.

The family-friendly barbecue restaurant business prides itself on the food quality with meats slow cooked for up to 12 hours on specially imported smokers from Memphis.

As part of Greene King, Hickory’s will continue to be run by McDonnell and managing director John Welsh.

Authenticity commitment

On the announcement, McDonnell said: “We are delighted to have this investment from Greene King enables us to bring the Hickory’s smokehouse offer to many more guests and locations.

“This will provide our teams with fantastic opportunities for growth and development.”

Greene King’s plans for the future include to leverage its scale and expertise to accelerate the national roll out of the Hickory’s brand outside of its north west heartland.

CEO Nick Mackenzie added: “Hickory’s is an outstanding business that has established itself as one of the UK’s leading barbecue smokehouse restaurant operators.

“This is a business that has a commitment to authentic hospitality and dining experience, which has an offer loved by its customers, old and new.

“Hickory’s shares Greene King’s focus on providing quality food and drink at the best possible value and when looking at our stable, it really complements our existing brands.

“We are confidence we can take Hickory’s to the next chapter in its history and we look forward to working with John and the whole of the Hickory’s team as we focus on building it into a national brand.”

Broad appeal

Private equity firm Piper partner Libby Gibson said Hickory’s was a fantastic business in a unique position in the market.

She added: “It’s a broad appeal to a wide range of guests has meant we have been able to grow the business significantly during our partnership.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Neil, John and the team of Hickory’s and wish them and Greene King every success as they embark on the next stage of growth.”

Earlier this year (January), Hickory’s reported like-for-like sales had increased​ by a quarter (25%) since December 2021.

Furthermore in November last year, it announced plans to open its first site in West Yorkshire​.

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