Seafood restaurant chain lands £1.25m funding for expansion plans

A South West seafood restaurant group has successfully secured £1.25m in equity financing.

Rockfish has won the backing from from the British Business Bank’s South West Investment Fund (SWIF).

The investment, via appointed fund manager The FSE Group, is part of a £3m funding round.

Founded by Mitch Tonks in 2007, Rockfish has grown to include eight restaurants, two takeaways, a fishmonger, as well as a tinned seafood range.

Additionally, it boasts the award-winning The Seahorse restaurant in Dartmouth. With a focus on sustainability and quality, Rockfish is dedicated to providing the best seafood experience, directly sourced from local markets or from MSC certified fisheries.

The £200m South West Investment Fund (SWIF) covers the entire South West region and provides loans from £25k to £2m and equity investment up to £5m to help a range of small and medium-sized businesses to start up, scale up or stay ahead.

Rockfish demonstrated resilience and adaptability in the pandemic, acquiring a fish procurement and processing business on the Brixham quayside.

This has empowered Rockfish with control over its supply chain alongside a unique setup that not only secures the finest seafood for its restaurants but also offers competitive and commercial advantages that set Rockfish apart in the sector.

The company is now set to execute a strategic three year growth plan, which includes the opening of four new sites and the expansion of its retail offerings.

Rockfish’s dedication to sustainability is evident in its operations, with 80% of its menu certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

Rockfish is currently in the process of becoming a B Corp, reinforcing its commitment to social and environmental standards.

Mitch Tonks said: “This investment is a testament to the strength and potential of Rockfish. We are excited to embark on this next chapter of growth, driven by our passion for seafood and our commitment to sustainability and excellence.

“We are grateful for the support from the South West Investment Fund and The FSE Group and look forward to bringing our unique seafood experience to even more people.”

Ralph Singleton, head of equity, South West at The FSE Group, added: “Rockfish is poised for an exciting phase of expansion. With a robust recovery post-COVID and a highly capable management team at the helm, this expansion will further establish Rockfish as a leader in sustainable and quality seafood dining and we are delighted to be part of this journey.”

The purpose of the South West Investment Fund is to drive sustainable economic growth by supporting innovation and creating local opportunity for new and growing businesses across the South West. The fund is increasing the supply and diversity of early-stage finance for South West smaller businesses, providing funds to firms that might otherwise not receive investment and helping to break down barriers in access to finance.

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