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LEGAL | Kevin Santos, Singapore
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Mad Mex on partnering with 4FINGERS, and why they see “numerous” expansion opportunities in Asia

Founder and CEO Clovis Young also confirmed that a brand refresh is due in the coming months.

Australia-based Mexican fast food chain Mad Mex says they have received “a lot” of interest for them to make their way to the Asian food and beverage scene.

But before the brand decided to go ahead with it, they made sure to fulfil their number one requirement: finding the right business partner.

“We wanted a partner with local market experience and existing scale that had a similar growth ambition to Mad Mex. Values and alignment are number one,” Mad Mex CEO and founder Clovis Young told QSR Media.

The partner they have been searching for: Singaporean fast food chain 4FINGERS.

Both brands recently announced their monumental partnership that saw 4FINGERS acquiring a 50% stake in Mad Mex. 4FINGERS plans to establish Mad Mex’s presence in Southeast Asia, including initial plans to expand in Singapore and Malaysia for the next 12 months. The deal closed last 13 September.

 “4FINGERS is an established brand with strong management and an experienced board of directors. It is growing in the region and there a numerous opportunities to co-locate in shopping centres or to leverage the existing relationships with landlords,” Young said.

Young will also retain management control of Mad Mex and says he expects to see additional growth in Australia and New Zealand given how the brand is currently delivering 4% like-for-like sales growth over the past two quarters.

Asked about their plan to distinct themselves from other chains in Asia, Young says they view Mad Mex as “differentiated generally” and teased a brand refresh in “months to come.”

“There is less Mexican in the region than in AU, so it will be more important to expand the category and to introduce new customers to the unique Mad Mex fresh and healthy menu and flavour experience,” he said. “Our core proposition is to bring genuine and authentic ingredients and flavours to our customers, so the core of our range will stay as is. We will look at local preferences for dishes and see where Mad Mex can augment our menu to meet customers’ tastes.”

4FINGERS, known for their signature crispy chicken, bought Mad Mex as part of its plans to accumulate a portfolio of three food & beverage concepts. Together, both brands project total system-wide revenues of over SG$120 million for FY19.

“Mad Mex is the second key brand in the 4FINGERS Group. We are currently on the lookout for a third brand to complete this platform; a brand with similar characteristics to 4FINGERS and Mad Mex - strong, established, profitable and fast-growing that is easily scalable and has global potential,” Vijay Sethu, owner and director of 4FINGERS said.

(Photo credit: Mad Mex and 4Fingers Facebook pages)

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