Famous Brands Turns to Steakhouse Category with Turn 'n Tender Joint Venture

Johannesburg; Monday, 25 March 2013: In line with the Group’s strategic intent to extend its presence in the casual dining sector, Famous Brands has entered into a joint venture agreement with the founder-owners of Turn ‘n Tender, the family steakhouse restaurant group started in 1977 by the four Aaron brothers, Mervyn, Steven, Howard and Brian, and re-launched in 2007 by Brian and property developer and businessman Farrel Osher, with restaurants in Parktown Quarter in Parktown North, in the Thrupps Centre in Illovo, Nicolway Centre in Bryanston and Camaro View Centre in Bassonia. In terms of this transaction, Famous Brands will acquire a 51% stake in the trademarks and existing franchise agreements in the business, which currently comprises the four successful steakhouse restaurants and a choice-cuts butchery all situated in the greater Johannesburg area. Two of the original founders, Brian and Mervyn Aaron will be retained to assist the Group in achieving Turn ‘n Tender’s full potential in a rapidly growing market segment. The purchase consideration is not material and will be settled from cash reserves. Pending the successful conclusion of a due diligence exercise, the effective date of the transaction is 01 May 2013. In the immediate term, the intention is to fast-track Turn ‘n Tender’s roll-out with the opening of a fifth restaurant in the sought-after Village View Centre in Bedfordview later this month. Management anticipates that the brand will achieve a national footprint of 25 restaurants over the next five years. Famous Brands CEO, Kevin Hedderwick says, “For some time now we have been exploring investment opportunities in the family dining steakhouse category. Two factors appealed to us: firstly, this segment has seen strong growth and should continue to do so, and furthermore, we believe there is potential to build a new niche for Turn ‘n Tender within the sector given the discernible ‘gap’ between the entry level mass market offering and the premium upper-end offerings.” “Thanks to its existing brand awareness, by acquiring a stake in Turn ‘n Tender we immediately gain traction amongst consumers, landlords and prospective franchisees – something which is not easily achievable had we launched a ‘start-up’ concept. Turn ‘n Tender is a well-known, highly regarded brand with a long track record and has been particularly enthusiastically received since its re-launch in 2007,” notes Hedderwick. Hedderwick adds that other compelling reasons for this transaction are the benefits to be extracted in the Group’s supply chain. “We are in a position in the immediate short-term to manufacture sauces for the brand as well as deliver a basket of products to the current and future franchise network. Equally significant is the opportunity to convert Turn ‘n Tender’s existing centralised choice-cuts butchery facility into one which can supply brand-specific choice-cut meat products to the wider Famous Brands franchised network with minimal capital expenditure, but which will have significant upside for the JV business,” he says. Brian Aaron, founding partner of Turn ‘n Tender, says, “Our vision of 36 years ago is very much the same vision we have today: to offer a casual dining experience which showcases the best in food and service within a warm and welcoming environment.” He says, “Partnering with Famous Brands is a very proud moment in Turn ‘n Tender’s history. In a growing market which sees the need to offer quality dining, we know that our experience in running successful steakhouses together with Famous Brands’ expertise in franchising will create a positive synergy for us to achieve our vision and grow our brand.” “Selecting the right partner for growth was a very important part of our decision to consider a joint venture transaction. Famous Brands has tremendous insight into running and managing food franchises so it was an obvious choice for us to develop our association with a company that has such a solid reputation,” Aaron elaborates. Hedderwick concludes, “We are confident that this business will realise the founding partners’ dream to see the Turn ‘n Tender brand in major cities across South Africa over the next few years.”     For further information:
Kevin Hedderwick Chief Executive Officer Famous Brands Ltd Telephone: 011 651 5812 Del-Maree English Investor Communications Mobile: 083 395 8608