UK juice bar chain receives expansion boost from Business Growth Fund

Boost currently operates ten stores across the UK including Manchester’s Trafford Centre and Piccadilly train station, London’s Westfield White City and Westfield Stratford, Meadowhall Sheffield and Bristol’s Cribbs Causeway.

Operating in the fast growing wellness category, Boost provides a healthy alternative to soft drinks, on-the-go meals and sweets. Nutritional and health advantages provided by juices and smoothies remain key growth drivers for the smoothie bar market.

Boost was founded in Adelaide by Janine Allis in 2003 and has nearly 200 sites throughout Australia alone. Its continued global expansion sees Boost Juice Bars now successfully operating in over 20 other countries including South Africa, Chile, Estonia, Germany, Kuwait, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, India, China and Russia.

Boost was established in the UK in 2007 when Richard and Dawn O’Sullivan, the team behind Millies Cookies acquired the rights to exclusively operate Boost Juice Bars in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Six years on from its first opening, Boost in Manchester’s Trafford Centre continues to be one of the top 3 performing Boost Juice Bars from more than 280 stores now operating around the world. In the financial year ended September 2012 the business generated turnover of £4m.

Richard and Dawn O’Sullivan along with Chairman Bill Holroyd and Finance Director Martin Burrill were the team behind Millie’s Cookies, which grew to over 100 stores before its successful sale to Compass Group in June 2003 for £24m.

Richard O’Sullivan has been the non-executive Chairman of Barburrito, a chain of fast-casual Mexican restaurants for the last four years. Barburrito, already sitting within the BGF portfolio, was the first business based in the North of England to receive BGF funding earlier this year.

BGF will take a minority stake in Boost and Andy Gregory will join the board. BGF’s £2.5m investment will help accelerate the company’s roll-out programme to grow its existing store portfolio of 10 stores to around 40 stores over the next 3 years.

Andy Gregory, BGF’s Regional Director for the North of England, commented: “I am delighted to announce BGF’s investment in Boost. From the outset we recognised that this is a company with a fantastic product range, supported by a strong and dynamic brand. Richard, Dawn and the rest of the management team are highly experienced in this sector and you only need to look at the success they had previously in executing a very similar rollout with Millie’s Cookies, taking it from an initial few sites to over 100 locations to understand our confidence in them. In Boost, we are backing an established, proven concept with significant roll-out potential.

“With the increasing focus by consumers on Wellbeing and healthier lifestyle, Boost is well placed to capitalise on a rapidly growing market. We look forward to working with the management team as we help the business to expand across the UK.”

Richard O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of Boost commented: “Since launching the Boost Brand here in the UK in 2007 the business has grown steadily throughout the major shopping centres around the country. Customers tell us they find Boost a fun and vibe driven experience, but the most common feedback is “it’s amazing something so healthy can taste so good!”

“Despite the challenges in the economy over the last few years, Boost has continued to grow its army of loyal Boost fans. Having achieved our target number of test stores along with our move into healthy profitability over the last year, we are now well positioned to expand the business to a further 30 locations over the next few years. Having financed the business almost entirely from our own funds to this point, we decided to seek some outside growth capital to service the next phase of this expansion.

“In BGF we have a partner who has the financial means to meet our funding requirements but is also fully committed to this region and has already backed similar roll-out concepts. We look forward to working with Andy and the team going forward.”