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‘Slow fast-food’ Specialist raises £1 million with help from The Capital Fund
Successful funding round means more Amano cafés in London and beyond

Continental-style all-day café business Amano has raised £1 million of new funding across two investment rounds from The Capital Fund, a £50 million venture capital fund that invests in fast growth companies in Greater London, and a group of private investors. Amano will be using the fresh investment, alongside a matching debt facility from Clydesdale Bank, to roll out new cafés in the capital. The Company has recently agreed Heads of Terms with Land Securities for a 2,500 sq ft café alongside Tate Modern and has a number of other sites under negotiation.

Amano’s flagship café is located near Borough Market on Clink Street and has been open since April 2004. Their second outlet, at the Play Golf complex in Northwick Park near Harrow, and a concession at a leading advertising agency, currently complete Amano’s portfolio but the new funding means that up to four new cafés will open in London during the next 12 months with plans for further cafés in other cities.

“Amano” means “by hand” and the principle of applying hand-made production to fast-foods like sandwiches and pizza is at the heart of the concept. Amano outlets bake their own bread and pizza dough, from ‘scratch’, on the premises. The result is a “slow fast-food” approach, with every customer’s food prepared freshly to order.

Open 16 hours a day, seven days a week, Amano cafés change their menus and ambience from a coffee shop in the morning to a deli sandwich bar at lunchtime to a pizza restaurant and relaxed bar in the evening. This gives the cafés a unique ability to appeal to their customers throughout the day as their needs change.

Amano co-founders, Jonathan Cooper, CEO, and Operations Director, Ed Bentley, have substantial experience of developing successful upmarket catering businesses. Mr Cooper co-founded the EAT sandwich bar chain and is a non-executive director of the 55 store chain, coffeeheaven international plc, while Mr Bentley, also formerly with EAT, comes from four generations of bakers.

Mr Cooper said: “We are delighted to have secured the new funding that means we can proceed with our new London outlets. Among the exciting locations we are close to securing is a 2,500 sq ft corner site right behind Tate Modern, underneath the IPC building in the Bankside regeneration zone.”

Cooper, Bentley and the team have also reserved a space at the new Broadmead Shopping Centre in Bristol’s Merchant Quarter. Mr Cooper said: “While the Bristol site won’t be ready until 2008, it gives us another milestone to aim for. Before we open in Bristol, we should have five Amano cafés up and running in London.”

Amano’s management team has a strong vision of the potential for all-day cafés in the UK. Mr Cooper explained: “The Amano model can be adapted to any location – office, residential, shopping or tourist. The same “by hand” principles of quality, combined with a flexible approach to providing the services people want over extended opening hours, can be used anywhere.”

Mr Cooper was pleased at how straightforward it was to work with The Capital Fund. He said: “We found the Fund’s due diligence process especially interesting and their specialists came up with a number of ideas which we’re incorporating into our plans. Helen Reynolds and the team were pragmatic and always responsive to our concerns.”

Helen Reynolds, Investment Manager at The Capital Fund, said: “It’s always very satisfying to invest in a company that has such a strong management team with a clear vision for the future growth of the business. Amano prides itself on providing quality products that are clearly made with real care and attention. And it is this attention to quality, plus the service of food in a stylish, relaxed environment, that sets Amano cafés apart from their competition.

“The existing Amano cafés are performing extremely well so there is a clear market for the all-day café concept. We look forward to following Jonathan and Ed’s progress as<

Publisher Contact Information:

The Capital Fund
+44 (0)1865 811199

Company profile of The Capital Fund
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