Janine Allis stands with board ahead of possible Retail Zoo IPO

Janine Allis stands with board ahead of possible Retail Zoo IPO

Rumours of a potential ASX listing of franchise group Retail Zoo are swirling as of late.

The company, which operates Janine Allis' extremely successful Boost and a swathe of other brands, is exploring a range of options to keep growth on an upward trajectory.

The group - also responsible for Betty's Burgers, Cibo Espresso and Salsa's Fresh Mex - was acquired by Bain Capital in 2014, with the US fund taking a 70 per cent stake for what some estimated to be around $185 million.

The Australian Financial Review recently estimated the company to be worth between $330 million to $460 million, and Retail Zoo's chief executive Nishad Alani told the publication he planned to double its store footprint in Australia and overseas.

With such a spotlight on the company, Business News Australia spoke to Retail Zoo founder Janine Allis about how she feels about a potential IPO, the success of Betty's Burgers, and her latest reality TV appearance.

Would you support an IPO for Retail Zoo, if that is the road that Mr Alani decides to go down?

I am very supportive of the decisions that we make as a board and business, at this point. The owners of the business are considering a variety of transactions - no final decisions have been made.

Taking Boost to the US, China, Japan and German is going to be a massive feat why have these markets been ignored so far in your international expansion program?

Retail Zoo & Boost is already global and present in 14 countries with 36 per cent of our stores offshore. International growth options are something we are considering in the medium term.

Retail Zoo fully owns all of its brands, a distinct competitive advantage. That means we are fully able to expand our brands into other markets if and where the opportunities exist.

With the franchise sector currently under intense scrutiny what is it that Retail Zoo does better/different to ensure that franchisees are treated well?

Retail Zoo, our franchise system is based on a simple principle: when owners are making money, owners are happy. We have a dedicated team of franchise consultants that ensure the model is working for franchisees and that our owners have control over their operations and support from the business.

Betty's Burgers has been a massive hit in Australia, why do you think Australians have embraced the format?

From a customer perspective, Betty's offers a customer experience with a relaxed, beachside ambiance, service that is unique given its fine casual model, a mix of beachside, shopping and high street locations and, importantly, high quality food. Betty's has proven very popular with females and families and has gained a loyal customer base.

From our perspective, Betty's has exceptional store economics and strong growth opportunity. Betty's has proven successful across multiple formats and has identified more than 80 Australian sites which would be suitable for new stores.

Also, congratulations about Survivor! Can you give us a scoop about the show?

Ha thanks, it was a blast and horrible all at the same time...

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