Sale of Hickory's, the UK's leading BBQ smokehouse restaurant, to Greene King

Sub-industryRestaurants & Bars

BDO acted as advisers to the shareholders of Hickory's Smokehouse on the sale of their shares to Greene King Ltd. 

Founded in 2010 by Neil McDonnell, Hickory’s is an American style, family friendly smokehouse and BBQ restaurant, with a strong focus on food quality and authenticity. Hickory’s highly differentiated proposition - with chef’s tables, milkshake bars, cinemas, children’s play areas – ensures that guests or all ages and demographics are catered for.

Hickory’s has a strong track record of success transforming old or underinvested pubs and restaurants back into what they were always meant to be – highly attractive destinations at the heart of their local communities. 

The partnership between Greene King and Hickory’s supports Management’s ambitious plans to grow Hickory’s into a national brand, bringing the proposition to many more guests across the UK. A selection of Greene King sites have been identified as potential conversion opportunities.

“Hickory’s always deliver exceptional service and food quality to its guests which comes through in its brilliant trading, and its consistent outperformance of the market.

"It was a real pleasure to work with the management team and Piper to find a partner that will accelerate the growth of Hickory’s across the UK.” 

Harry Stoakes, Partner, BDO M&A

Hickory's will continue to be run by the existing management team, led by Managing Director John Welsh, and will remain based at its HQ in Chester.

"Right from the offset when we first embarked on the search for a potential backer Harry, Sam and the wider team at BDO recognised not only our own objectives at Hickory’s but also those of all of the stakeholders. 
"The guidance we received and their ability to navigate the complexities of a transaction was hugely valuable throughout the process. And their deep knowledge of the sector and strong relationships with possible investors enabled us to find a great fit with Greene King."

John Welsh, Managing Director, Hickory's Smokehouse

Hickory’s currently operates 17 sites across the Midlands and Northwest, having grown from five sites following Piper’s £6m investment in 2014. Piper, a leading UK consumer focused investment fund, achieved a full exit.

"Management and Piper chose BDO to manage the sale of Hickory’s as the depth of their sector knowledge and relationships with trade and PE buyers was clear from the outset.
"The BDO team, led by Harry, provided excellent advice to Vendors and managed the project with great skill from start to finish – working proactively throughout.
"BDO built a great relationship with the Hickory’s and Piper team. We look forward to working with the team again in the future."

Peter Kemp-Welch, Managing Partner, Piper PE LLP

We are pleased to announce that the purchase of Hickory's by Greene King won 'Deal of the Year' at the Retailers' Retailer Awards 2023.