What: Latin American casual dining
Where: Opened in Bristol, expanding nationally
Established in 1991. Approached Insight in 2005 with 5 outlets.
By 2007 had 14 restaurants across the UK, currently standing at 28 outlets
When Las Iguanas approached us in 2005, they were ambitious yet low profile. With our help, they’ve not only expanded their portfolio to 28 branches from Plymouth to Aberdeen, they’re also achieving their ambitious business objectives.
The executive team had a clear game-plan: to expand the portfolio throughout the UK and release their investment backer. What was lacking was a geographic strategy and the expertise to identify the right sites for the brand. The Las Iguanas’ concept requires sizeable premises to create a lively Latin ambience and on busy high-streets these can be tough to find.
We had to be extremely creative in identifying new locations. For example, in Newcastle we saw a potential opportunity and discreetly entered into off-market negotiations with three adjoining retailers. It took two years to complete but today this expansive branch is one of the group’s highest performing restaurants.
Once we’d built the portfolio to 14 restaurants, the private equity investor was happy to sell the business for £27m – achieving a sixfold return on investment. The executive team were then able to reinvest and, with a new private equity house, fund the next phase of growth. Working with the founder and the new investors, Insight Property have been retained to undertake the next wave of expansion. Las Iguanas continues to expand in preparation for a further investment sale.
We’ve enjoyed working with Martin and the Insight Team for many years now and it’s fair to say we wouldn’t be where we are without their ideas, property knowledge, business skills and fearless, can-do attitude.” – Eren Ali, Managing Director/Founder