Marc Hasenfuss Editor-at-large

Spur Corporation will markedly fatten-up its higher-end eatery offering with the acquisition of a 51% stake in the Nikos Coalgrill Greek chain – a brand that the restaurant franchisor believes can be rapidly expanded. On Thursday, Spur CEO Pierre van Tonder contended that Nikos Coalgrill Greek – which has six outlets — had the potential to expand to about 50 restaurants nationally over the next few years. He also said Spur was seeking out more opportunities in a largely fragmented restaurant market — “as long the brands don’t clash internally”. Van Tonder said restaurant brands that had the potential to expand into 30 or 40 strong franchise chains typically traded at slightly better margins than Spur’s eponymous steakhouse brand, which still accounts for the bulk of the group’s franchise revenue and profits. In recent years there has been a concerted push to diversify the franchise fee and earnings base away from the Spur brand, with forays into pizza and pasta, branded steakhouses,...

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