Tortilla snaps up Chilango chain for £2.75m

Tortilla Mexican Grill PLC, the UK’s largest fast-casual Mexican restaurant brand, has bought Mexican restaurant chain Chilango from London-based investment firm RDCP Group in a deal worth £2.75m.

Tortilla intends to retain and continue to operate the Chilango brand at certain locations and via the delivery channel in a number of Tortilla sites.

Established in 2007,Chilango is an award-winning fast-casual restaurant chain specialising in Mexican food including burritos, salads and tacos. The business operates from an estate of eight premium location UK sites, which offer both eat-in and take away options, as well as through its delivery channel supported by delivery kitchens.

The acquisition further bolsters Tortilla’s presence in central London, with six of the eight units positioned in Zone 1. The group wishes to take advantage of the high-quality locations operated by Chilango and the trend of workers returning to offices.

RDCP Group acquired Chilango out of administration in August 2020. Over the course of its ownership, Chilango reopened eight bricks and mortar restaurants, including relocation in Boxpark Croydon, as well as opening four delivery kitchens in partnership with Deliveroo Editions across London and Brighton.

Whilst being a big part of Chilango’s business pre-pandemic, the delivery arm of the business grew from strength to strength in 2020 and Chilango burritos were the UK’s fourth Best Selling Dish on Deliveroo.

Richard Morris, CEO of Tortilla, said, “We are delighted to announce Tortilla’s acquisition of Chilango. Chilango is a highly complementary brand that, similarly to Tortilla, provides a fantastic value-for-money proposition and embraces popular and growing sector trends for healthy, customisable food from an estate of restaurants situated in premium locations in London and Manchester.

“This acquisition accelerates our ambitious plans to further expand the Tortilla brand and these sites are in addition to our initial target of opening 45 UK restaurants over the next five years, helping us to surpass this target.

“It also adds another brand to the Tortilla Group, enabling us to further strengthen our leading position in the UK’s fast-casual dining market. We’re very excited about this acquisition and look forward to leveraging our combined knowledge and expertise within the Mexican fast casual dining sector.”

Chilango Managing Director Richard Franks commented, “Under RDCP’s ownership, we have been able to grow the brand as well as steady the business against an ever-changing climate. Over the last two years, delivery and online orders have made a huge difference to our business and has been a key driver of our recovery and future growth strategy.

'I am very proud with what myself and my team have been able to achieve, especially given the extraordinary challenges we have all gone through in recent times.

'As Chilango enters this new exciting chapter, after six fantastic years, I will be moving onto new opportunities. I wish Chilango and the new owners, Tortilla, the best of luck and look forward to seeing the exciting plans they have for the future.”

Sameer Rizvi, Chairman of Chilango and Founder/CEO of RDCP Group, explained, 'When we acquired Chilango, the business and the sector were facing significant headwinds. However, Richard Franks, his management team and the board members, including Iryna Dubylovska and Wagamama COO Nigel Sherwood, worked to stabilise the business, agree good deals with landlords and manage the supply chain.

“Chilango took advantage of the growing delivery market, which allowed the business to grow quickly and stay profitable even during national lockdowns. Today, the business has been successfully turned around and is ready for its next stage of growth. Tortilla are the strongest operators in this space and the perfect strategic fit for Chilango.

“ I would like to take this opportunity to thank Richard Franks and the whole Chilango team as well as our loyal guests who have helped to develop the business into the established and popular brand it is today, and I look forward to seeing Chilango enter the next phase of its journey as a much-loved brand under Tortilla’s ownership.”

Launched in 2007, the Tortilla chain currently has around 48 stores across the UK.