Big Mamma, the renowned French-owned Italian restaurant group, has made a significant move by selling a majority stake to London-based private equity group McWin, valuing the company at €270m. The investment from McWin is expected to fuel an ambitious expansion plan in the United States and the Middle East, further solidifying Big Mamma’s presence in the global culinary landscape.
The restaurant group, famous for its Instagram-worthy dishes and drinks, currently operates 23 restaurants across five European countries. This includes its flagship trattoria, East Mamma, in Paris, and London’s popular Circolo Popolare. Co-founders Victor Lugger and Tigrane Seydoux will continue to manage the business and retain a minority stake, while 17 early investors, including French telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel and media tycoon Stéphane Courbit, will exit their investments.
Victor Lugger expressed his vision for Big Mamma with this investment, stating that it will help the company “go big” and build a global brand in “affordable, experiential luxury dining.” Big Mamma has gained popularity for its creatively named, colorful dishes, including the “naughty garlic bread” and “nice buns” beef ragu brioche bun. The group attracts approximately 15,000 customers daily across its 23 locations due to its extravagantly designed restaurants and affordable prices.
Despite his optimism, Lugger acknowledged the risks associated with private equity partnerships in the restaurant industry. Private equity investments in the sector have had a mixed history, with some restaurant brands undergoing restructurings to survive.
McWin, however, positions itself as a specialist in the restaurant and food technology sector. In the past two years, the private equity group has invested around €1bn across 14 brands. It also supports pasta restaurant Vapiano and White Rabbit Projects, known for Indian restaurant Kricket and Italian delicatessen Lina Stores.