Riverside exits Retail Zoo

The Riverside Company has exited Retail Zoo, an Australian owner of four quick service restaurant concepts. The deal marks Riverside’s 100th exit since its 1988 founding.


The Riverside Company has exited Retail Zoo, an Australian owner of four quick service restaurant concepts – Boost Juice, Salsa’s, Cibo Espresso and Hatch. Riverside invested in Retail Zoo in 2010 and helped the company grow its earnings by more than 150% over the next four years. Retail Zoo is based in Chadstone, Victoria. The exit marks Riverside’s 100th since its 1988 founding.

Retail Zoo has 294 stores across all brands in Australia, with an additional 100 Boost stores in nine international markets. Boost is a clear leader in its home market of Australia, where it has 218 juice and smoothie stores. Salsa’s is a growing chain of 51 fresh Mexican restaurants. Cibo Espresso is a network of 23 gourmet Italian coffee bars located primarily in South Australia. Hatch, Retail Zoo’s latest offering, is a modernized concept for quick service chicken-based restaurants.

“We’re very pleased with how we were able to grow Retail Zoo,” said Riverside Managing Partner Stu Baxter. “It was a dynamic company with great managers when we made the investment, and our franchising expertise and international experience allowed us to partner with that team and guide them along their journey to becoming an even more successful enterprise.”

Riverside’s global presence and transacting expertise helped Retail Zoo successfully expand its total network of stores from 240 at investment to more than 390 by exit, including almost 50 new international stores and 22 acquired stores with the add-on of Cibo Espresso in 2012.

“Retail Zoo is the vision of Janine and Jeff Allis” said Baxter. “We partnered with them and together we invested heavily in systems, processes and talent to further accelerate the company and position it for an exciting future beyond our exit.”

“Riverside’s greatest strength is its ability to recognize great businesses and allow those businesses to grow under their high quality guidance,” said Retail Zoo Founder and Director Janine Allis. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the Riverside team, and I’m grateful for all their support.”

Among Riverside’s eight industry specializations is Franchising. The firms Industry Sector Head for Franchising Jeremy Holland said the success of the Retail Zoo investment is a testament to the effectiveness of the specialized approach, particularly as it related to Riverside’s ability to support management by identifying and vetting add-on acquisitions.

Riverside Partner Simon Feiglin, Vice President Steven Spiteri and Vice President Hiroaki Wakashita worked with Baxter throughout the investment.

Retail Zoo was advised by UBS, Jones Day, KPMG and Deloitte on the exit transaction.

The Riverside Company
The Riverside Company is a global private equity firm focused on acquiring and investing in growing businesses valued at up to $250 million (€200 million in Europe). Since its founding in 1988, Riverside has invested in more than 340 transactions. The firm’s international portfolio includes more than 70 companies.

Media Contact
Graham Hearns
Managing Director of Global Marketing and Communications & Global Talent Management
The Riverside Company
+1 216 535 2221