Famous Brands Takes on Some Italian Cuisine


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Lupa Osteria founders Guy Cluver and Chris Black

Restaurant franchise group Famous Brands has acquired of a 51% stake in Italian restaurant chain Lupa Osteria for an undisclosed sum.

Lupa Osteria, which was founded in 2013 and later franchised in 2014, owns three restaurants in Kwazulu-Natal’s Hillcrest, Westville and Durban North.

The deal will be effective from May 1 2016.

CEO of Famous Brands, Darren Hele says the deal is in line Famous Brand’s focus to grow its exposure to the evening dining segment. “Lupa Osteria is a great brand and we are confident in growing our exposure to evening trade market. There is a lot of scope for growth,” Hele told Moneyweb.

The company’s quick-service brands and casual dining brands Tashas, Wimpy, Mugg and Bean,  Steers, Debonairs Pizza, Fishaways, Milky Lane, Wakaberry and more, are popular for morning and lunchtime trade.  Famous Brands is under-represented in the evening dining segment as it operates restaurants brands like Turn n Tender and Mythos. On the latter, it recently acquired a 51% stake in the Greek restaurant chain.

Hele says with Famous Brands buying into Lupa Osteria, rapid expansion plans for the restaurant are imminent.  Though Lupa Osteria operates in KwaZulu-Natal, Famous Brands plans to “take it out of KZN rather quickly.”

About three additional restaurants will be added in KwaZulu-Natal bringing the number of restaurants to six. But Hele says there is scope to own 35 restaurants across South Africa and the continent in “the next couple of years.” This is dependent on the availability of space for restaurants in shopping malls.

Lupa Osteria was co-founded by Guy Cluver and Chris Black, who will both remain in the business. Cluver says since launching Lupa Osteria, the co-founders have been approached by other major players in the industry but choose Famous Brands as a partner.  “With their extensive experience and infrastructure the group will help us realise our ambitions for Lupa,” says Cluver.

The name of the restaurant “Lupa” – the she-wolf synonymous with and symbolic of Rome – was chosen to reflect its Roman-style Italian food as “opposed to other variants of Italian cuisine symbolic of Rome.”

Hele says as consumers continue to follow international trends and Famous Brands will increasingly see them continue to support their local restaurants.

Over the last five years, South Africa’s fast food industry has transformed with a swathe of international food and beverage chains setting up shop. Brands such as Burger King, Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza – and recently Krispy Kreme and Starbucks entered the local market.

Grand Parade Investments, which launched Burger King in South Africa, is looking to bring Nasdaq-listed Dunkin’ Brands into the country to open Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins stores.

Source: moneyweb.co.za

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