Spur buys gourmet brand to up niche presence

Johannesburg - The Spur Corporation [JSE:SUR] is set to acquire the majority stake in RocoMamas.

The JSE-listed multi-brand restaurant group is buying a 51% share in RocoMamas, a Gauteng-based niche brand.

RocoMamas offers hand-made "smash-style" burgers, ribs and wings, with all orders prepared fresh, on site.

The smashed-to-order burger is made from three different fresh mince specifications. Diners also get to co-create their dishes from a wide range of freshly made add-ons.

The concept was launched in July 2013 by Brian Altriche, who is already one of Spur's longest-standing franchisees with two Spur-brand restaurants and a third on the way.

In less than 18 months he has grown RocoMamas to four restaurants in the greater Johannesburg area, with another three in the pipeline for this year.

Like all the brands in the Spur group, RocoMamas is run on a franchise basis, and Altriche said he receives as many as 15 queries a day from interested entrepreneurs, keen to participate in the dining concept.

In terms of the deal with Spur, expected to come into effect by March 2015, Altriche will continue as CEO of RocoMamas.

Altriche, who lived in Los Angeles during the late 1980s and early part of the 1990s, where he specialised in brand development, saw an opportunity to introduce South Africans to the novel dining concept at a time when there is a growing appetite for hand-made foods and more personalised experiences.

At first he thought the concept would appeal mainly to the millennial and youth market, but soon diners of all ages started queuing up for the artisanal-style food at accessible prices.

The American rock ambience also resonates with a broad spectrum of people, irrespective of age, he added.  

Spur CEO Pierre van Tonder said the RocoMamas concept is ideal for the current market with the public hungry for new flavours and new ways of enjoying them.

“The response rate from potential franchisees, who recognise this, has been overwhelming, with interest being shown well beyond the country’s borders," he said.

"With Spur’s infrastructure, financial and marketing resources we are well placed to take RocoMamas national, with the capacity to add another 30 to 40 outlets in a relatively short time."

Just over a year ago, Spur acquired The Hussar Grill franchised network of eight premier grill houses, all in the Western Cape.

In addition to The Hussar Grill, the Spur owns Spur Steak Ranches, John Dory's Fish Grill and Sushi, Panarottis Pizza Pasta and Captain DoRegos.

The group’s presence is predominantly in South Africa with a total of 503 outlets, but extends to Australia, the UK and Ireland, as well as other parts of Africa, with branches in Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and Mauritius.

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