Clapham House's takeover of Tootsies will help take the restaurant group national, according to industry experts.
Clapham House, which is led by former PizzaExpress directors David Page and Paul Campbell, tabled a £25.3m bid for the struggling company last week. It intends to convert at least a third of the 30 restaurants in the Tootsies group to its Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) format, taking it outside London for the first time.
Shaun Gomm, manager at Deloitte Corporate Finance, said: "The real star for Clapham has been GBK, and rolling it out nationally will really fuel growth. The deal gives Clapham entry into the shopping-centre market that is key."
Industry insiders expect Clapham House to keep the Tootsies brand alive, at least in the short term, although Tootsies sites in areas where GBK already has outlets will probably be sold.
"Tootsies will still work but it's better suited to smaller sites and out-of-town shopping centre locations as opposed to town centres, where it's not a distinct enough offering to compete," said one analyst.
Nigel Popham, director at stockbroker Teather & Greenwood, said: "It doubles the size of the business in one go, bringing purchasing scale."
By Chris Druce