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Retail Zoo adds coffee to its franchise menu with Cibo Espresso

Monday, 17 December 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

The parent company of Boost Juice has flagged franchising opportunities after acquiring Adelaide-based coffee chain Cibo Espresso, which will now be extended across the country.

 

Cibo Espresso was launched in 2000 by Roberto Cardone, Salvatore Pepe, Angelo Inglese and Claudio Ferraro. Together, they used to run Adelaide dining landmark Cibo Ristorante.

 

Even though Australia’s espresso bar culture was still in its infancy in 2000, the foursome was convinced people would gravitate towards an authentic Italian coffee bar with a modern edge.

 

The Cibo Espresso concept quickly became a hit – there are now 20 stores in Adelaide and two in Brisbane. In addition to coffee, Cibo makes its own pastries, breads, gelati and other items.

 

The company has been acquired by Retail Zoo for an undisclosed sum, in a deal that will see the Cibo Espresso brand extended across Australia.

 

Retail Zoo, led by chief executive Jeff Allis, is the parent company of Boost Juice and Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill. Like Cibo Espresso, the Boost Juice concept was born in Adelaide.

 

According to Allis, Cibo is a “wonderful partnership” for both companies.

 

“They have a compelling X factor brand, and Retail Zoo has a powerful back-end to help Cibo achieve its complete vision,” Alis said in a statement.

 

“We love the Cibo brand and it’s an incredible honour to be able to help their team grow Cibo across Australia.”

 

Cardone said the partnership will enable Cibo to use Retail Zoo’s sophisticated management and franchise systems to fuel the brand’s rapid expansion.

 

“They know how to grow a business quickly without in any way compromising quality,” he said.

 

Initially, the growth of Cibo Espresso will be focused on Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. Retail Zoo is actively looking for partners to become involved.

 

In addition to franchisees, Retail Zoo said on its website it is always on the lookout for businesses to acquire.

 

“We’re especially interested in profitable, multi-site food retail networks that would benefit from plugging into Retail Zoo’s back of house engine and executive team in order to realise the business’ full potential,” it said.

 

The move comes one month after Boost Juice opened its 200th store in Australia, with founder Janine Allis describing the milestone as a “dream come true”.

 

Boost Juice has stores across 14 other countries including South Africa, Malaysia, Chile, the United Kingdom and India.

 

Another 10 Australian stores are scheduled to open before the end of the financial year, with expectations the brand will exceed 300 stores globally before the end of 2013.

 

Salsa’s, meanwhile, has 37 stores across Australia, with another two opening this month. Its plan is to grow to more than 50 stores in the next 18 months.