A local entrepreneur is bringing a Spanish dining concept to Liverpool with backing from Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF).
Pinch on Castle Street in Liverpool city centre is the latest venture from Tony Burns, a local businessman who previously owned McGuffies bar, also based on Castle Street.
Originating from northern Spain, pinchos are small tapas-style dishes which are served on a skewer. The menu includes cod fritters with chilli sauce, chicken thighs in spicy Basque ketchup, prawns in hot oil and mussels in garlic and wine. Pinch also serves breakfasts, light lunches, coffees and alcoholic drinks including an extensive cocktail and drinks menu.
MSIF has provided a £25k loan as part of a £150k package which included funding from HSBC and the director’s own investment. MSIF’s investment is through money it manages on behalf of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). Pinch has created 7 new jobs and a further 3 staff will be taken on before the end of the year.
Mr Burns said: “After I sold McGuffies I took a year off and went travelling around Europe. When I was in Spain I went to lots of pinchos bars where people can spend hours sitting and just grazing on small bites of food over drinks throughout the evening rather than having a big meal and moving on somewhere else."
"It’s a really nice way to socialise and I thought that something similar would work really well here. Castle Street already has quite a European feel to it with its wide pavements and outside seating areas and having had experience of running a bar there before, I knew this would be a really good fit."
"I’ve hired some really good staff. The chef and the bar staff are very experienced. The cocktail guys developed the menu themselves so we’ve got some unique drinks on there as well as the classics."
"Pinch serves food throughout the day including pastries in the morning and brunch buffet menu at weekends which we hope will attract trade from hotels around Castle Street which don’t serve food."
"We want to support other local businesses so we stock the likes of Liverpool Gin and also have our own Pinch coffee blend which is roasted by a local company."
"Since we launched we’ve been busy every day – we’re getting great support from the local business community and have had lots of bookings for over the Christmas period."
"MSIF have been fantastic to deal with. The difference with them is that they know the local market and can make their own decisions. I was treated as an individual not just a number. They took the time to understand the business and because of their local knowledge they knew that it would work."
MSIF investment director Paul Humphray said: "Cocktails and tapas-style dining are very popular and it will certainly fit well in this area with lots of people going out for drinks straight from work who don’t necessarily want the formality of a meal in a restaurant."
"There is also a great opportunity to capture the daytime market with quality breakfasts and coffees. Using local and independent suppliers will also give him a competitive edge over the large chain outlets in the area."
"Tony has been very successful in his past ventures and understands the local marketplace extremely well. He is very well known and liked and I think he will do really well with Pinch. We are really pleased to be supporting his business."
The RGF is provided through Responsible Finance. It provides loans to micro, small, medium and social enterprises across England through the community finance sector. £30million of funding is provided by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, matched with a further £30 million by the Co-operative Bank and Unity Trust Bank.