Coffee franchise Vida e Caffè has acquired Cape Town-based health food restaurant brand Sweetbeet. The deal, concluded in November 2021, sees Vida e Caffè working to expand Sweetbeet across the country, accelerating the growth of the brand in response to consumer demand for healthier food options.
Sweetbeet has opened four new stores since the acquisition and now operates from six locations across Cape Town. This is planned to grow to between 16 and 18 locations by Feb 2023. This growth will be greatly facilitated by leveraging off existing Vida infrastructure, skills, scale and experience.
“Vida e Caffè and Sweetbeet share the same passion for understanding customer demand, developing on-trend casual dining experiences and producing freshly made, locally-sourced beverage and food products every day. What sets Sweetbeet apart from other brands is their commitment to the experience, the warm and inviting environment they create for customers as well as the unique healthy on trend food and drinks” explains Darren Levy, CEO of both Vida e Caffè and Sweetbeet.
Darren Levy, Vida e Caffè and Sweetbeet CEO. Source: Supplied
Globally, there’s been a major shift in the food and beverage industry in response to growing consumer demands for healthier options. For restauranteurs, more than just adding a few healthy dishes to their menus, this has meant that they’ve had to innovate and develop new and existing business models to cater to the market.
“The timing is perfect to leverage and grow the Sweetbeet brand,” says Levy, in reference to the worldwide popularity for sustainable, responsible, and healthier food and beverage options.
Sweetbeet founders Andrea and Francois Hamman, state, “We are both excited to grow and deliver on our mission to make healthy food more accessible to as many people as possible.”
As a fast casual restaurant concept, Sweetbeet will be jointly managed by the Hammans, who will stay on in their current positions alongside Vida's executive team.
Separate identities operating in partnership
Vida e Caffè and Sweetbeet will continue to operate under their separate identities, and in some venues might end up operating side-by-side. Vida coffee is now being served in Sweetbeet outlets.
Sweetbeet healthy food products will become available for purchase in Vida stores in time, as part of the coffee chain's own expansion into healthy food. It follows the introduction of various vegan products, non-dairy alternatives for caffes, gluten-free bread alternatives and the introduction in May of fully plant-based wraps and toasties.
There are more than 220 Vida e Caffè stores across South Africa, along with locations in Mauritius, Zambia and West Africa.
Health and sustainability
According to the Natural Marketing Institute, 64% of the US population feel more personally responsible for the protection of the environment than they have in the past. The Institute found that 57% make decisions with an understanding of the effect the decisions will have on the health and sustainability of the world, its environment, and people.
“We already see consumers in South Africa following the same kind of decision-making process, and the time is perfect to bring the Sweetbeet brand to consumers across the country,” says Levy.
According to Vida, investing in Sweetbeet is more than just about growing the brand in the market. By partnering with its talented founders and management team, with more than 21 years in the industry, Vida e Caffè hopes to create "real value" and an exciting new offering for the wider industry and consumer community.