Real Foods see growth beyond Africa, launches in Thailand and Netherlands

SOUTH AFRICA – Real Foods Group, a South African healthy, fast-casual restaurant operator, is set to expand its global footprint by rolling out franchises in Europe and Asia.

The company, which houses the healthy restaurant franchise Kauai, has entered into a joint venture (JV) for Thailand and a master franchise for Asia with Dusit Thani as well as a master franchise with Vineyard Catering in the Netherlands.

The Thai JV will operate under the brand Dusit Real Foods, which will oversee the opening of several fast-casual restaurants in Thailand with possible expansion into retail ranges.

“The new stores will carry the brand name Real Foods, while still retaining the Kauai concept, store design and menu.

Much of the menu will remain the same, with roughly 30% changing to meet local tastes, adding several Thai-inspired dishes like soba noodle salads, iced tea and coffee drinks,” Real Foods said in a statement.

Dusit Real Foods already has four stores lined up through its long-standing relationship with Virgin Active health clubs, with the first store to open at the end of September.

Dusit International is a publicly-listed Thai multinational hospitality company with diverse interests in the hospitality, food and beverage space, including 29 hotels and resorts in 18 countries.

The company’s also counts an investment in NR Instant Produce C, a leading manufacturer and exporter of instant food and beverages for more than 50 brands, as well as a majority equity stake in Epicure Catering.

Real Foods Group CEO Dean Kowarski said the company would work with Dutch franchisee Vineyard Catering to get the service going in the Netherlands, specifically in Utrecht Centraal railway station, where the first Kauai store in the Netherlands will be stationed.

“Vineyard Catering approached Real Foods with the belief that the Kauai brand would resonate with and attract the Dutch consumer. We view this opportunity as a platform for further expansion into Europe, with partner Vineyard Catering, which has a strong track record in food and catering,” he said.

While the Kauai brand started in the United States, the business was launched in South Africa in 1996 and was later acquired by Real Foods in 2015.

Other businesses in Real Foods’ portfolio are NÜ Health Food Cafe, baked goods provider Schoon and its honey business, Brother Bees.

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