MANAMA, Bahrain – Venture Capital Bank (VCBank), a Bahrain-based Shari’ah-compliant investment firm, announced its acquisition of a significant stake in the Caribou Coffee and Fuddruckers Restaurant franchises in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
From its first outlet in Bahrain in 2007, Caribou has grown its network to 22 stores, and is ranked among the top three international coffee shop chains operating in the Kingdom. Caribou stores are strategically well located across all of Bahrain and it offer its customers high-quality specialty beverages in first-class atmosphere.
Fuddruckers opened its doors in 1995 as one of Bahrain’s earliest family-friendly casual dining restaurants, and today has six outlets across the country.
Mr. Abdullatif Janahi, Board Member and CEO of Venture Capital Bank, commented: “We are very excited about the Bank’s entry into Bahrain’s food and beverages (F&B) sector, through well-known and proven brands such as Caribou and Fuddruckers. Significantly, coffee is the most widely-consumed beverage in the world after water and with coffee shops having the fastest growth in the food service industry; while affordable, family-friendly casual dining restaurants like Fuddruckers continue to bridge the gap between high-end fine dining establishments and low-end fast food outlets.
“We are confident about the future prospects and growth of this sector, which will continue to be driven not just by domestic demand, but also by Bahrain’s growing reputation as an attractive tourist destination. Bahrain welcomed 12 million visitors during 2018 who spent in total BD 960 million mainly on accommodation, F&B, shopping and leisure (average expenditure of BD 80 per tourist per day). Continued success of the F&B sector will contribute to the Kingdom’s GDP growth,” Mr. Janahi added.
Since commencing the Bahrain franchise acquisition process last year, US$ 2.5 million was invested in extending the Caribou Coffee network through the opening of seven new outlets. These are located in Hala Plaza in Zinj, Royal Hospital for Women and Children in Riffa, Arcapita Building, Avenues Mall at Bahrain Bay, Garden Plaza in Budaiya, Hamala Hills Mall and the Walk Shopping Mall in Riffa.
Venture Capital Bank and the founding partner plan to invest a further US$ 5 million in both franchises in the coming few years. This will be used to renovate and uplift some of the older Fuddruckers restaurants and give them a new modern look and feel; and to open new Fuddruckers outlets in Saar and Muharraq. The Bank also plans to open several Caribou kiosks in busy office complexes and several ‘drive-thru’ service stores, following the success of the ‘coffee-to-go’ concept in the Arcapita Building and the ‘drive-thru’ service concept in Hala Plaza.
“This acquisition marks VCBank’s fourth investment to date in the F&B and related agribusiness sectors in the MENA region and Turkey, where we have developed considerable knowledge and expertise since 2011. Our investments includes an investment in Oba Makarna, Turkey’s largest and leading pasta producer and the second largest in the world in terms of pasta production capacity; Goknur, Turkey’s largest fruit juice concentrate and fruit puree producer; and Topsu, a farmland investment in Turkey with more than one million organic fruit trees planted across 10 million square meters of farmland” Mr. Janahi pointed out.
“VCBank is actively seeking new investments in other lucrative F&B and related agribusiness areas in the MENA region through which to further expand and diversify our growing portfolio. These constitute highly-attractive non-cyclical and defensive sectors where non-discretionary consumer demand continues regardless of economic downturns,” concluded Mr. Janahi.