SOUTH AFRICA – Famous Brands, South Africa’s leading quick service and casual dining restaurant franchisor, has announced that it has sold its controlling 51% stake in boutique café brand, tashas, to the founding Sideris family, who hold the remaining 49%.

tashas was founded in 2005 by Natasha Sideris, partnered by Savva Sideris, her brother.

In 2008 Famous Brands acquired a 51% stake in the business, which comprised two restaurants.

As at 30 July 2020, the network comprises 18 restaurants in South Africa and eight in the United Arab Emirates.

“The sale is in line with the group’s three year-strategic roadmap which includes a narrower focus of investment of resources in the Signature brands portfolio,” reports Famous Brands.

Famous Brands’ portfolio of signature brands includes tashas, Turn ‘n Tender, Paul, Vovo Telo, Mythos, NetCafé, Coffee Couture, Salsa Mexican Grill, Lupa Osteria, Europa, Keg and House of Coffees.

Some of the brands are wholly owned, while others are joint venture partnerships with the founders of the respective brands and have been subject to ongoing reconstruction and review amid a constrained economic environment.

The roadmap was accelerated by the global coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic to right size the business, reduce costs and preserve cash for balance sheet flexibility.

Its key areas of focus would include expansion, consolidation and a capital management as well as allocation programmes to grow its leading brands and retail business and build depth in the rest of Africa and Middle East (AME) footprint.

The signature brands were severely impacted by the lockdown to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the group said in its annual report for the year ended February 29.

Famous Brands said the signature brands operated in the over-traded, highly competitive casual dining market segment and their performance for the review period reflect the difficulties faced.

In the third phase of the pandemic, which commenced with the national lockdown on March 27, and subsequently eased slightly on May 1 with delivery-only sales permitted, only 40 percent of its brand portfolio was adaptable to trade.

Revenue in the signature brands portfolio declined by 72 percent.

On the other hand, its leading brands delivered solid results, reflecting their market leadership of the categories they trade in.

Consistent with recent years and in line with general market trends, its quick service (QS) brands, Steers, Debonairs Pizza, Fishaways and Milky Lane outperformed the casual dining (CD) brands, namely Wimpy, Fego Caffé and Mugg & Bean.

All four of the QS brands grew system-wide and like-for-like sales, and Steers, Debonairs Pizza and Fishaways continued to gain market share, while Milky Lane retained its competitive posture.

The Group’s vertically integrated business model comprises a portfolio of 24 restaurant brands, represented by 2 898 restaurants across South Africa (“SA”), the rest of Africa and the Middle East (“AME”), and the United Kingdom (“UK”).

The Brands division is underpinned by substantial Logistics and Manufacturing operations.

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