Pizza Capers deal to “supercharge” franchisees, co-founder claims

Retail Food Group’s $30 million acquisition of Pizza Capers will “supercharge” the growth and operations of Pizza Capers’ franchisees, co-founder Anthony Russo says.


Russo and Scott Geiszler founded Pizza Capers in 1996, in the Brisbane suburb of Kenmore. It launched 12 outlets before embarking on a franchising program in 2005.


There are now 110 outlets, all of which have been acquired in a $30 million deal with the Retail Food Group. Russo and Geiszler will both remain in the business.


The outlets are mainly based in Queensland, where there are 93. The remaining outlets are in Victoria, NSW, the ACT, South Australia, Tasmania and Singapore.


RFG is the franchisor and property owner of Donut King, Michel’s Patisserie, Brumby’s Bakeries, bb’s café and Esquires Coffee Houses.


Settlement is expected in April. The acquisition takes the total number of RFG outlets to 1250.


As part of RFG’s plans to grow Pizza Capers, 20 more stores will be rolled out this year. Russo is confident Pizza Capers franchisees will be better off as a result of the deal.


“We are excited by the opportunities that will be created for the system and its franchisees when incorporated within the infrastructure and sophistication that RFG offers,” he says.


“The systems, processes and support structures to be brought to the business by RFG will supercharge our growth and operations.”


Pizza Capers is expected to turn over $4.3 million in earnings before interest and taxation in the 2013 financial year. Its last revenue figure was $50.6 million in the 2011 financial year.


The sale price is seven times the expected 2013 EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes).


The brand has made significant inroads into the gourmet pizza market, introduced gluten-free bases to its menu and highlighted concerns about recycled packaging.


RFG chief executive Tony Alford said the process to acquisition took 18 months.


“During this period, it has become clear to RFG that Pizza Capers has distinguished itself within a highly competitive [Quick Service Restaurant] segment,” Alford said in a statement.


“It’s not just an excellent franchise system, but it has been built with a penetrating brand that is all about quality. It’s not a price-driven product.”


Alford said vendors appreciated the expertise RFG had in being able to grow Pizza Capers beyond its traditional Queensland base while also providing the infrastructure necessary to service and support franchisees during challenging economic times.


“[Pizza Capers] represents a brand that will both complement and enhance those franchise systems already under RFG stewardship.”


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