Pale Fire Capital invested in Slovak gastro group CF Group


PFC announces another investment, this time in the Slovak CF Group j.s.a. The group is behind, among others, the concepts Regal Burger, Poke Bistro, La Garnacha, Chuck&Frida and now Banh-mi-Ba. Pale Fire Capital’s investment in CF Group amounts to 2.3 million EUR and includes the sale of PFC’s stake in Banh-mi-Ba. This gives CF Group a majority stake in the chain.

CF Group is an experienced Slovakian group focused on creating modern food concepts with the potential to grow into an international chain. It has several interesting projects behind it. These include the Regal Burger chain, which first appeared at the Pohoda festival in 2013 and is now the largest network of premium burger restaurants in Central Europe with nearly 30 franchises in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the healthy fast-casual food concept Poke Bistro, the authentic Mexican street food La Garnacha, mini food halls under the brand Chuck&Frida, Cuppa Joe cafes or, most recently, the Banh-mi-Ba chain of Vietnamese bistros.

“The last two years have been very difficult for the whole world from a covid perspective, we are seeing big changes in customers’ behaviour. The concepts of gastro businesses have to adapt and adapt to this situation and innovate, also in the field of technology – the Group has stakes in several interesting gastro-focused startups that CF Group has helped with concept development and market entry – Trifft, Eatster or TracwarePOS. We will use PFC’s investment to strategically develop new concepts and expand existing ones, and of course we plan to significantly increase recruitment as part of our growth. The plans are ambitious, we want to open 20 more branches across our network in Q4/2021,” said Jozef Bardík, CEO of CF Group.

“The investment of several tens of millions CZK will bring the opportunity to scale and further develop CF Group. It will strengthen the marketing, research, development, recruitment and overall growth of the group in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and most recently in Abu Dhabi. We are pleased to be able to help with the development and actively contribute our experience,” comments Jan Barta, Partner at PFC.

CF Group has already used part of the investment, for example, to acquire a majority stake in the developing Banh-mi-Ba chain, which the group is now currently helping to enter the Slovak market. The concept, offering authentic Banh-mi bagels and Vietnamese street food, will open a brand new location in Bratislava’s Nivy complex in a few weeks. Thanks to its strategic location, a wide range of customers can get to these delicacies – passengers from the nearby bus station, visitors to the shopping centre or employees of the close-by office buildings. 

“The example of Banh-mi-Ba is a nice way to see that the franchising platform we have created for Regal Burger is capable of supporting other quality brands in their rapid growth. We plan that Banh-mi-ba will grow to more than double in size within a year and, in addition to individual stores, will also be part of most of our new mini food halls under the Chuck & Frida brand in Slovakia and abroad. In a similar way, we can also help other small chains as well as franchisees, thus providing a wide portfolio of quality brands,” said Jozef Kuzma, COO of CF Group.