Montreal-based restaurant franchisor Foodtastic Inc. just signed a deal to buy fast-casual restaurant franchise Freshii Inc. for a whopping $74.4 million.
Foodtastic Inc. is already behind over 20 brands like Second Cup, Pita Pit, Milestones, Shoeless Joe’s, and Copper Branch.
The deal will involve Foodtastic paying $2.30 per share in cash, representing a total of $74.4 million on a fully diluted basis.
Freshii CEO Daniel Haroun said the transaction “recognizes the tremendous value of the Freshii brand.” He also said that the recent acquisition will generate additional opportunities for Freshii’s consumer packaged goods business.
The healthy fast-food chain said it operates over 343 locations in North America and internationally.
Earlier this month, the restaurant franchisor also entered into an agreement to acquire Quesada Burritos & Tacos. The Toronto-founded and Mexican-inspired chain already has over 175 locations across eight provinces.
Foodtastic plans to develop the Quesada brand even further, with over 50 new locations expected to open over the next 36 months.
While Freshii is well-loved around the country for its grain bowls, superfood smoothies and burritos, the brand was embroiled in controversy earlier this year for its outsourcing of jobs.
Back in April, many Freshii customers began to notice a video-calling device — called “Percy” — attached to cash registers in several of the company’s locations across Ontario.
Freshii criticized for hiring low-wage virtual workers 💻 #Toronto #Freshii pic.twitter.com/OKBycXm7l6
— blogTO (@blogTO) April 30, 2022
As customers approached the screen, a virtual cashier appeared wearing a headset and took orders despite not being physically present in the store.
Toronto Star reported that some of these virtual workers processed orders from a Nicaraguan call centre nearly 6,000 km away, where they earned less than Ontario’s minimum wage.
Two virtual cashiers spoke with the Star and stated that the call centre they work at pays them just US$3.75 an hour.
The discovery of the virtual workers, along with their below-minimum wage pay, caused shock waves and calls to boycott on social media.
In a previous corporate filing, Freshii stated that it adopted this new virtual technology in hopes of “assisting [its] partners in managing costs and protecting profitability.”
Freshii also spoke of other upcoming “labour optimization programs in development.”