Description

Buffalo Grill is the leading casual dining chain in France with approximately 600 restaurants (including c. 190 franchised) across the Buffalo Grill and the Courtepaille estates (acquired in October 2020). Buffalo Grill was founded in 1980 and has grown to be one of the most recognised restaurant brands in France employing over 5,600 people and serving 30 million meals per annum.

Buffalo Grill has a loyal customer base attracted by a varied and affordable menu centred around beef dishes. Its restaurants are primarily based in retail parks and in medium-sized city outskirt locations and are frequented for a wide variety of occasions.

In October 2020, Buffalo Grill acquired Courtepaille, the number two casual dining operator in France, with a network of approximately 240 restaurants and a complementary food offering to that of Buffalo Grill serving beef dishes and traditional French recipes, as well as a similar real estate strategy operating in edge of town retail parks and close to major road networks.

Transaction

We had been actively monitoring the casual dining space in Europe following TDR Capital’s successful investment in Pizza Express. In 2013, we identified Buffalo Grill as the preferred acquisition platform in France given its scale, brand recognition, product offering and performance relative to its peers.

Following a detailed review of the business in 2015, TDR stayed close to the business, monitoring its performance and building our investment case. Due to our insight into the business, our experience in the sector and the relationship built with the company, we were able to engage in bilateral negotiations to acquire Buffalo Grill during 2017.

The transaction was completed in January 2018.

What we've done

Since the investment in the business, we have been focused on a number of initiatives to transform the Buffalo Grill estate. We have put in place a new management team and together launched an operational improvement programme, involving a structural reorganisation of the business, improvement of the menu and food on offer, staff training/retention programme as well as the creation of a new Home Delivery and Click & Collect offering which now forms a steady new revenue stream for the business. We also commenced a capex programme targeting accretive refurbishment of the underinvested estate through the development of a new restaurant design concept.

In October 2020, Buffalo Grill took a major step in consolidating the French casual dining market, with the acquisition of Courtepaille, taking advantage of the market disruption as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic and acquiring Courtepaille out of bankruptcy proceedings. The acquisition represents a significant transformational opportunity leveraging Buffalo Grill’s platform.