- Texas-based Ampex Brands, the parent company of Au Bon Pain and franchisee of Yum Brands and 7-Eleven units, has acquired American bistro chain Bellagreen from Bellagreen Holdings. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, according to a press release emailed to Restaurant Dive.
- Bellagreen joins Ampex Brands’ roster of more than 500 limited-service restaurants and convenience stores. Ampex acquired Au Bon Pain in 2021, which expanded its footprint internationally.
- Ampex’s Bellagreen acquisition comes amid a slowdown in restaurant mergers and acquisitions compared to last year, as higher interest rates and inflationary pressure weigh on companies.
Despite unfavorable capital market conditions, some restaurants continue to pursue acquisitions to achieve economies of scale, which can benefit operators in a challenging environment. This deal is one such example, as is Denny’s recent acquisition of Keke’s Breakfast Café and Gala Capital Partners’ purchase of Dunn Brothers Coffee.
Ampex’s Au Bon Pain buy marked the company’s first experience as a franchisor. Ampex added new leadership at Au Bon Pain and sought to expand into new markets, including the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. At the time, Ampex leadership said Au Bon Pain could expand through nontraditional outlets like airports and universities.
Ampex has ambitious expansion plans for eight-unit Bellagreen, which currently operates in Houston and Dallas. In the release, Ampex CEO Tabbassum Mumtaz said the company looks forward to “introducing this brand to every major city in the U.S.”
Bellagreen is sustainability-focused, and uses water-saving equipment, alternative power sources and sustainable food at its stores. Such branding may appeal to the growing number of consumers seeking eco-conscious companies, according to consulting group Simon-Kucher & Partners.
Bellagreen’s menu of made-from-scratch burgers, pizzas, salads, sandwiches, wine and beer differs from the cuisine offered by Ampex’s other brands, including KFC, Taco Bell and 7-Eleven. This could allow the company to tap into new consumer and franchisee segments.
Bellagreen does align with Ampex’s current portfolio with its catering channel, and also opened a carryout and delivery prototype to provide a more convenient option for customers. Under Ampex’s ownership, Au Bon Pain has tripled its catering revenue in the past 12 months, according to the release.
Ampex is retaining Erik Bednar, Bellagreen’s regional operator, and Silvestre Reyes, director of culinary, as well as all restaurant-level staff. Ampex’s CFO Eric Easton, and Sameer Mumtaz, VP of growth and strategy, will “play integral roles in the strategic direction and operations for bellagreen.”