Posted on 29 January 2015
Kram Restaurants Limited (“Kram”), which operates four Drive-Thru KFC outlets in the Bristol area, has been sold to the Herbel Group in a multi-million pound deal project-managed by Smith Cooper Corporate Finance.
This transaction represents the culmination of the Sellers’ plan to dispose of the restaurants operated by Kram over a five year period. Implementation of this plan commenced five years ago with Smith Cooper advising on the disposal of the trade and assets of five of Kram’s nine stores to Herbel, and the negotitation of a put and call option to sell the shares in Kram around five years later.
The recent transaction sees Kram’s principal owners, Mark and Hazel Hodding, retire from the KFC business that they have been involved with for nearly 25 years. Mark’s initial role in the business was as Regional Marketing Director for Europe/Africa and the Middle East, he then took on various senior positions in Development and Franchising within the KFC (GB) Business before finally spending the last 10 years as a Franchisee. Mark was highly respected by fellow franchisees but also worked closely with the franchisor as a member of the Advertising and Development Boards, positions he has now resigned from.
Commenting on the transaction, Mark Hodding said “when the time came to finally exit a business that we love and that has been a part of daily life for all bar 25 years we wanted top class, experienced advisors to ensure all went smoothly and that our business went to a good home. Smith Cooper fitted the requirement and the level of service and professionalism they provided together with their knowledge of the sector were crucial in ensuring the deal completed on time and to the satisfaction of both parties. We would have no hesitation in recommending them to others.”
The food sector, especially food retail/franchising, is a particular specialism of Smith Cooper and this deal adds to a tally of over 35 assignments in the sector. Partner, John Farnsworth, descried Kram as “operating extremely efficient, highly profitable outlets of the most desirable Drive-Thru variety”, and the Sellers as “exceptional clients to work with”.
KFC is just one of the brands owned by Yum! Inc., a global organisation which also owns and operates the Pizza Hut Delivery and Taco Bell operations. There are over 800 KFC restaurants in the UK, run by the franchisor or by one of the 35 or so UK franchisees.