CASE STUDY

ANTARES RESTAURANT GROUP LIMITED 

Overview

  • Antares (“Burger King NZ”) was acquired by Anchorage together with management in September 2009
  • Antares held the franchise rights to operate the Burger King system in New Zealand with a network of more than 70 restaurants
  • Under Anchorage ownership, a ‘back to basics’ turnaround blueprint was developed and executed in conjunction with senior management resulting in demonstrable improvements in the performance and quality of the business
  • Antares was successfully sold to The Blackstone Group in November 2011

Transaction background

Burger King NZ was acquired by Anchorage and the senior management team from private shareholders.  The senior management team included both a new CEO and Director of Operations from the outset of the investment.  

Business overview

Burger King is a leading quick service restaurant (QSR) brand and is the second largest hamburger chain in the world and NZ.  It is most recognised for its signature burger, the WHOPPER.  Burger King NZ offers a range of authentic flame-grilled beef and quality chicken burgers and is known for having the best tasting and biggest burgers amongst its competitors. 

Antares owned and operated all but three of the Burger King restaurants in New Zealand with the remaining three restaurants franchised.  Antares also had a joint venture interest in a local meat processing operation supplying beef patties to the Burger King NZ network and export customers in South East Asia.

Turnaround program

Anchorage viewed Antares as a classic turnaround. The investment rationale was based on doing the basics well by improving gross margin and restaurant profitability, leveraging the strong underlying brand and investing in the business.

The turnaround blueprint implemented included the following initiatives:
  • Organisation and culture: Appointed new Director of Operations; changes to restaurant management; implemented a new culture; improved training, development, incentives an safety processes
  • Brand: Consumer insight study; new advertising and marketing program; new menu boards
  • Cost management: Improved supply chain management; new gross margin improvement initiatives; systems and technology investment; continuous improvement program; established internal audit function
  • Operations: Improved labour scheduling; new drive thru capability, improved speed of service;
  • Product and menu: New products; revisiting pricing and bundle meals
  • Restaurant environment: Major investment refurbishment program; five new restaurants opened

The turnaround program resulted in a material change in the quality of the business. Underlying EBITDA almost doubled and a range of new growth options were developed.

Financial performance

The turnaround initiatives outlined above delivered meaningful improvements in earnings and margins and have significantly improved the quality of the business.

Exit

Antares was successfully sold to The Blackstone Group in November 2011.