Sandwich bar chain Eat has secured a new £18 million cash filling in a deal with private equity house Penta Capital.
The company, which has an outlet in Birmingham, plans to expand from 45 to 100 shops following the refinancing deal.
It also plans to double its existing 720-strong payroll by 2008 and expects turnover to grow from £29.1 million to £37.7 million this year.
It will use some of the money to invest in a central kitchen which it claims will enable it to innovate more and improve the quality of its sandwiches, soups, salads and hot pies which attract 200,000 customers a week.
Penta is buying out the 42 per cent stake in Eat owned by the company's original venture capital backer, 3i, and Barclays is putting in £18 million of new money.
Company founder and managing director Niall MacArthur, a former investment banker, is increasing his equity stake by an unspecified amount under the terms of the deal announced yesterday .
Also, Eat has a new finance director in Guy Harvey who previously held the same position at Conran Restaurants.
Mr MacArthur's wife, Faith, remains as brand director while Colin Hughes and John Herring retain their positions as retail director and non-executive director respectively.
Eat is basing its business plan on estimates of growth of 7-8 per cent a year in the sandwich market for the next three years. According to Mintel, the market was worth £3.5 billion in 2003.
The company aims to cash in on the trend of shorter lunch breaks and customers are becoming pickier about the origin, content and freshness of their fast food.