Last month Bauer acquired the global Vapiano brand and franchising rights along with a number of restaurants in Germany, France, Luxembourg and Australia, before taking on the UK Vapiano business, which went into receivership in April. He is now co-founder and CEO of the newly-formed Vapiano holding company, Love and Food Restaurant Holding.
The Vapiano investors have set up a partnership with Savour Group, a company founded by three family offices, the Dominvs Group, a privately owned group of companies focused on the hospitality, residential and commercial real estate sectors in the UK, Naveen Handa and Krit Srichawla.
Together, the joint venture will run Vapiano within the M25 and has acquired the Vapiano restaurants on Great Portland Street, Bankside and Tower Bridge. The Savour Group will also enter a franchise agreement with Vapiano to operate its restaurants in Manchester and Edinburgh and says it is committed to opening more Vapiano restaurants across the UK.
“This is an exciting investment in the hospitality industry’s future,” says Husnell Ahluwalia, Director of Dominvs Group.
“As a company, we are always on the lookout for great opportunities led by quality teams. This is a huge opportunity to look ahead at rebuilding an industry which has faced very challenging times recently.”
“We are delighted we have been able to safeguard the future of Vapiano UK and many of its employees. Vapiano is a strong brand and the new owners intend to continue to invest in this brand and are committed to its growth here in the UK”, says Naveen Handa of the Savour Group.
The buyers were advised by MJ Hudson, Clyde & Co, Mincoffs, and David Harper at Harper Dennis Hobbs.
“It was of the utmost importance to us to preserve a strong presence in London, a city that is a global showroom for brands such as Vapiano,” says Bauer.
“Together with the Ahluwalia family we look forward to growing and sustainably expanding our restaurants in the United Kingdom.”
Alongside Bauer, other co-investors of Love & Food Restaurant Holding include Harry McGovern, co-founder and former long-term CEO of the AmRest group of restaurants; Sinclair Beecham, co-founder of Pret a Manger, Vincent van der Valk, Dutch hotelier and exclusive Vapiano area developer for the Netherlands and Belgium; and Gregor Gerlach, Vapiano co-founder and owner of the Seaside hotel group.
Vapiano was founded in Hamburg in 2002. At its peak Vapiano ran more than 230 part-owned and partly-franchised restaurants in 30 countries, and currently operates 82 restaurants in Germany.