Famous Brands expands casual family dining portfolio with acquisition Of Italian concept, Lupa Osteri
AA – Famous Brands has acquired a 51% controlling stake in Lupa Osteria, an authentic Italian restaurant business trading in the full-service family casual dining segment. Founded in 2013, and franchised in 2014, Lupa Osteria comprises three restaurants in Kwazulu-Natal: Hillcrest, Westville and Durban North.
The purchase consideration falls below the threshold of a categorised transaction in terms of the Listings Requirements of the JSE Limited and will be settled from cash reserves. All suspensive conditions have been fulfilled and the effective date of the transaction is 01 May 2016.
Famous Brands’ Chief Executive Officer, Darren Hele, says, “Over the past year our stated strategy has been to explore and capitalise on opportunities in the casual dining category – one of the quickest growing segments in the restaurant industry over the past decade. Our more recent acquisitions, including the Mythos brand, demonstrate our progress in pursuit of this goal.”
He adds, “The Lupa Osteria transaction furthers our ambition to extend our presence in this market space and aligns well with the growing consumer trend towards high-quality informal enjoyment and appreciation of authentic craft-style food in a relaxed, personalised environment.”
He elaborates, “As consumers continue to follow international trends, we will increasingly see them choosing to patronise their ‘local’ restaurant, a familiar, comforting haven in their immediate neighbourhood.”
Lupa Osteria’s co-founders are Guy Cluver (owner/entrepreneur) and Chris Black (owner/chef), who together have more than 45 years of experience in the hospitality industry.
Cluver says, “When we conceptualised Lupa four years ago, underpinning our strategy was the belief that we could grow the brand nationwide. We were confident that if the brand found traction in the Kwazulu–Natal market, as it has, it would do well elsewhere. Since launching Lupa, we have been approached by other major players in the industry and are delighted to be able to choose Famous Brands as a partner. With their extensive experience and infrastructure the Group will help us realise our ambitions for Lupa.”
He adds, “Our inspiration is Roman-style Italian food, as opposed to other variants of Italian cuisine, which is why we chose the name ‘Lupa’ – the she-wolf synonymous with and symbolic of Rome. Our pasta is homemade and our pizzas are wood fired, using only imported Italian flour and the finest local ingredients, contributing to the authentic Italian taste experience.”
Black comments, “Our restaurants are expressly designed to emulate a neighbourhood osteria where one feels equally comfortable enjoying a casual affordable family dinner of pizza and pasta with a carafe of house wine, or dining on shellfish, fresh fish and veal with corporate clients.”
He notes, “The menu is a combination of time-honoured classics and modern interpretations. Whilst we pride ourselves on consistency of quality and service, we strive to ensure the experience is always fresh and contemporary through constant menu innovation. We’re also inspired by the theatre surrounding the dining experience, which is why our pasta is made in front of our customers at the restaurant entrances.”
Hele says, “Guy and Chris have the energy and enterprise to continue to grow the brand to its full potential and will remain jointly responsible for managing the business, supported by Famous Brands.”
“Trading is buoyant in all three existing restaurants, with high levels of consumer acceptance, positive feedback and repeat business. We are confident that this offering is suitable for application in a wide range of new markets. In the short-term our plan is to grow Lupa’s footprint to six restaurants in KwaZulu-Natal; over the long-term, we believe that a network of 35 restaurants in South Africa and select African countries is achievable,” Hele concludes.
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