Foodtastic Inc., a leading franchisor of restaurant brands in Canada, has added another banner to its portfolio with the recent agreement to acquire Noodlebox, which it says is one of the fastest growing quick service restaurant brands in the country.
“We are delighted to welcome Noodlebox into the Foodtastic family,” said Peter Mammas, President and CEO of Foodtastic. “Noodlebox’s reputation as a top-tier quick service restaurant brand aligns perfectly with our commitment to providing exceptional dining experiences to our customers. We look forward to working closely with all our new franchisees and driving the growth of the Noodlebox brand across Canada.
“I think it’s an amazing brand. We had gone down on a trip to BC and we just happened to eat there. We actually talked to the owners and we were lucky enough to make a deal. But it’s great in the sense that it fits right into our strategy and portfolio and what’s even better, the food is just outstanding.
“It’s prepared on the spot. It’s fresh. It’s healthy. It’s tasty. You get a lot of value for your dollar. The portions are big. The stores look great. I mean what’s there not to like. That one I think is a homerun. It’s just a great concept and it just needs a scope of something like Foodtastic that we could take it coast to coast.”
Mammas said he thinks Noodlebox could be a 215-unit chain just in Canada.
“I think there’s just an enormous opportunity in this. Asian Thai is a great category. It’s probably under-served throughout Canada with the exception of maybe Quebec. There’s a great deal of opportunity in that category,” he said.
Over the next year, including Noodlebox, Foodtastic expects approximately $1 billion of North American system sales across a network of over 1,200 new and existing stores. Foodtastic continues to drive growth through strategic acquisitions, new store development, and innovation.
“We are always on the lookout. Our goal is to actually triple this company in the next five years. We’re going to do that organically. We have plans to grow organically at roughly 10 per cent and on top of that we want to be purchasing three, four great brands every year to get us to that goal of tripling the company in five years.”
Foodtastic’s diverse range of brands includes popular names such as Freshii, Quesada, Second Cup, Pita Pit, Milestones, Fionn McCool’s, Shoeless Joe’s, Benny, La Belle et La Boeuf, and Monza.
Noodlebox started as a food cart in Victoria, BC’s Chinatown in 2001.
Its unique style of Southeast Asian street food was so popular that people waited hours to get their fill.
“We believe that Foodtastic is the perfect home for Noodlebox, and that together we will continue to uphold the values and quality that Noodlebox is known for,” said Dustin May, CEO of Noodlebox.
“Noodlebox has thrived with 46 locations now open and a further 50 in the development pipeline, and we believe that Foodtastic and our Noodlebox leadership team will create a bright future for our dedicated franchisees, team members and loyal guests.”
Mammas said Foodtastic looks to acquire other food establishments that fall into two categories. One is like a Noodlebox where the company thinks the brand is amazing, well run, the financials make sense and it can use its platform to grow that brand. The other category is to buy brands it thinks it can fix.
“There’s a lot of brands that we bought in the past like Second Cup, Milestones and Freshii that we looked at and said ‘you know what, we think we could fix these brands and bring them to where they need to be and once that’s done we can actually grow them’,” he said. “The first one we did with Second Cup and we fixed that brand quite quickly within 12 months. We stopped the hemorrhaging and actually now it’s going to be the first year in probably a decade that Second Cup is going to have net new additions in their pipeline. We’re going to actually open more stores than are going to close this year, which is the first time that’s happened in a decade.
Kelly Farraj of The Behar Group Realty Inc. is representing the brand for its expansion in Guelph, Kitchener, Liberty Village, Mississauga, Oakville, Waterloo. Stefan Safrata of Sitings Realty Ltd. represents Noodlebox/Fox and Crane Restaurant Group in Western Canada.
“The second one we acquired was Milestones and . . . they were an under-supported brand within Recipe. It was something that we knew very well because I used to own Baton Rouge. So I knew that segment really well and I looked at it and thought just by changing a few little things I think we could take that brand up. In the first year that we took it over we changed the menu, we changed a bit of the look, we changed the whole marketing, we changed the strategy of where that brand was going and right now it’s probably the number one brand in Foodtastic and we just opened some new stores and we’ve actually brought the concept to Quebec and the Quebec store has been open now for eight weeks and for the last four weeks it’s been the busiest restaurant in the whole country.
“We’re really good at fixing brands and once they’re fixed, growing them. And then you have Freshii that we just bought this year. We’ve only had it for a few months. So we’ve identified what we want to fix there. All the new ideas, the menu upgrades are going to be launched shortly and over the next six months. Again, I think that’s another brand that starting mid next year we’re going to be able to do like Second Cup and open more stores than are closing. And again that hasn’t been done since the last five years at Freshii as well.”