Family friendly restaurant group Giraffe is believed to be on the verge of being bought by supermarket giant Tesco.
A deal worth up to £50m for the 47-strong chain of restaurants across the UK would give Tesco a key in-road into the family eating-out market on the high street, according to The Times today.
It will not be the first time the supermarket will have invested in a high street food and beverage chain, having recently announced its involvement in backing the bespoke coffee shop business, Harris + Hoole, founded by siblings Nick, Andrew and Laura Tolley.
Tesco also owns Dobbie garden centres, which incorporate restaurants across its nationwide chain of 32 outlets, as well as backing the Euphorium bakery, which has an in-store presence at the Kensington branch of the supermarket.
The deal with Giraffe is expected to lead to the expansion of the restaurant brand, both via the high-street and through some of Tesco's 3,000 stores throughout the UK.
Founded by childhood sweethearts Juliette and Russel Joffe, together with Andrew Jacobs, the company currently has financial backing from private shareholders, the 3i investment group and its chairman Luke Johnson, who formerly ran Pizza Express.
The Joffes founded Café Flo in 1987, which they sold as an eight-strong chain seven years later. They decided to relocate with their family to Israel, but after dreaming up the idea for Giraffe restaurants while walking on a beach, they returned to the UK to put their plan into action.