NoHo Partners to acquire the hit chain Friends & Brgrs and launch the first “cloud kitchen” in Finland: 30–50 restaurants in three years, aimed at becoming the leading burger brand in Finland and a market leader in digital restaurant sales

NoHo Partners Plc
Media release 12 February 2020 at 9:45

The restaurant company NoHo Partners makes an investment in the rapidly growing fast food market by acquiring the majority of Friends & Brgrs, a restaurant chain known for its high-quality burgers. The goal for the next few years is to expand Friends & Brgrs into a national chain of 30–50 restaurants. To support the growth, the company is also launching Finland’s first “cloud kitchen” to meet the increasing demand for digital food shopping.

Selected as Finland’s favourite fast food chain in 2018 in a consumer study conducted by Taloustutkimus, Friends & Brgrs has introduced the “fresh casual” ideology to the fast food market. The ideology is based on sustainably sourced, fresh and 95 per cent Finnish ingredients as well as products cooked on site without additives. In addition to its top hamburgers, the restaurant has become famous for its triple cooked fries that are cooked three times at different temperatures.

“We’ve made over three million hamburgers for our customers. We mince the beef ourselves and our buns are baked in our own bakeries. Better burgers are here to stay, and the ever-evolving world of burgers is packed with opportunities,” says Peter Fagerholm, CEO at Friends & Brgrs.

Attracting especially a young target group, Friends & Brgrs has quickly grown into a very profitable chain of ten restaurants. With the acquisition, Friends & Brgrs wants to challenge fast food chains with its high-quality burgers and employ 1,000 talented young people in three years.

“Of all the customer groups, we can see the biggest growth in young people eating out. At the same time, fast dining and digital sales are growing strongly. For a long time, we have been looking to add to our portfolio a brand that feeds these trends, and Friends & Brgrs fits the profile perfectly,” says Aku Vikström, CEO at NoHo Partners.

Taking the profitable concept national – and fast

After the acquisition, NoHo Partners Plc will have an approximately 70 per cent shareholding in Friends & Brgrs Ab Oy. The co-founders and main owners of Friends & Brgrs will stay on as partners in the company.

“It’s great to enter into co-operation with a restaurant industry pioneer like NoHo. From the outset, our goal has been to expand our operations into a chain of dozens of restaurants. NoHo operates nationally, so its extensive network enables our growth objectives,” says Fagerholm.

“All Friends & Brgrs restaurants are very profitable, and they have a clear recipe for scaling their operations also from the perspective of capital profitability. I believe that we can introduce significant synergies to the background of the company, such as in purchasing, administration and the development of digital sales channels, in particular. At the same time, we want to take care of the most important recipe for success: the high quality of sustainably produced products and happy staff,” says Vikström.

“Cloud kitchen” to respond to the digitalisation of eating

The development of digital solutions is part of NoHo Partners’ growth strategy. The company is also launching Finland’s first cloud kitchen restaurant in Helsinki, which will have no customer seating, wherein dishes of different popular restaurants will be handmade for home deliveries only.

“Digital buying and an increased number of home delivery services have opened a completely new distribution channel for restaurant brands, especially in daily eating. In Finland, people are still used to shopping for groceries. However, with urbanisation, more and more people order ready-made meals delivered directly to their home or office. Cloud kitchen provides a solution to the high demand by increasing the capacity during peak hours and speeding up the deliveries. It helps our top brands, from burgers to sushi, to serve their customers even better. We want to play a leading part in this future market change,” says Vikström.

This year, the objective is to open at least five new Friends & Brgrs restaurants. In addition, Friends & Brgrs will also be the fast food flagship brand of the Tampere Deck multi-purpose arena to be opened in 2021. In 2020, the estimated turnover of Friends & Brgrs Ab Oy will be approximately EUR 15 million. The acquisition will enter into force on 1 April 2020.

Additional information:
Aku Vikström, CEO, NoHo Partners Plc, tel. +358 44 011 1989
Peter Fagerholm, CEO, Friends & Brgrs Ab Oy, tel. +358 50 553 3665

NoHo Partners Plc is a Finnish group established in 1996, specialising in restaurant services. The company, which was listed on NASDAQ Helsinki in 2013 and became the first Finnish listed restaurant company, has continued to grow strongly throughout its history. The Group companies include some 250 restaurants in Finland, Denmark and Norway. Well-known restaurant concepts of the company include Elite, Savoy, Teatteri, Yes Yes Yes, Stefan’s Steakhouse, Palace, Löyly, Hanko Sushi and Cock’s & Cows. In 2018, NoHo Partners Plc’s turnover was MEUR 323.2 and EBIT MEUR 7.2. Depending on the season, the Group employs approximately 2,100 people converted into full-time workers.

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