Steers owner buys majority stake in Lexi’s Healthy Eatery

Embracing the trend towards healthy eating, Famous Brands, owner of Steers, Wimpy and Debonairs, has acquired a 51% stake in local restaurant brand Lexi’s Healthy Eatery, effective April 1, 2022.

“The acquisition is aligned with Famous Brands’ three-year strategic roadmap, which includes acquiring brands that have the potential to become leaders in their category, and that offer growth prospects based on opportunities to improve existing operational efficiencies in the target business,” Famous Brands said. noted.

The acquisition relates to the company’s franchise and central kitchen operations, the food franchisor added.

Plant-based cuisine

Carrying the slogan “Eat More Plants”, Lexi’s is a casual restaurant offering a full-service, table-side, primarily plant-based dining experience for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It describes itself as a “mainly vegan, whole-food restaurant” that strives “for the most sustainable, mindful, moral and nutritious way of life”. It does, however, offer a free-range meat and fish menu option to accommodate flexitarians, according to the restaurant brand’s website. The menu is gluten-free and refined sugar-free.

Lexi’s was founded in 2018 by Lexi Monzeglio. Monzegli is the creative head of brand and product development and strategy, while her business partner, Ezio Nichele, manages operations for the business, which includes four restaurants, three of which are owned by Monzeglio and Nichele, while one is a franchisee.

It also operates a fledgling Central Kitchen which develops and produces meals for restaurants and retails a limited range of ready-to-eat frozen products to a small number of supermarkets.

Investment logic

Famous Brands’ existing portfolio does not include an exclusively vegetarian or plant-based offering, as a forerunner in its category, Lexi’s is a perfect fit for the group, Famous Brands said.

He added: “The trend towards healthy eating and plant-based foods has been present in the market for some time and continues to grow; this is demonstrated by the growing receptivity and uptake of healthier and vegetarian options. on the group’s existing brand portfolio menus.

Famous Brands noted that Lexi’s brand offering has strong potential for expansion into a quick-service restaurant format, and that there is also potential to expand Lexi’s products for the retail space of supermarkets and to take advantage of the Famous Brands group’s well-established route to market. “Over time, Lexi’s central kitchen could cater to the ancillary businesses of the group’s existing brands, as is happening elsewhere in the business model,” he added.

“Lexi’s will perfectly complement the group’s Signature Brands portfolio of fun restaurants, providing a more comprehensive offering to owners where the group already has a presence, as well as existing and potential customers,” Famous Brands said.

He added: “Lexi’s core values ​​are: to be accessible, healthy, sustainable, ethical and carbon neutral; these values ​​complement Famous Brands’ stated sustainability journey, which focuses on innovation and research. and development to create a sustainable foodservice business that is good for all stakeholders and good for the environment.”

Mutually beneficial venture capital partnership

Famous Brands said Lexi Monzeglio brings a unique skill set and intellectual capital to a relatively untapped market niche for Famous Brands. “Together, Lexi and her partner, Ezio Nichele, will play a key role in developing the strategic direction of the company through their vision and capabilities.”

He added: “While plant-based eating has historically been viewed as a preferred way of life, in line with the global trend, there has been a marked expansion in Lexi’s customer demographics as access to plant-based food product and appreciation is growing and entering non-traditional market segments.

“Famous Brands will provide the infrastructure, industry experience and working capital to help Lexi’s realize its potential in helping to make a sustainable, plant-based lifestyle more accessible and convenient for communities.”