CANADIAN FOOD COURT KING EXPANDS HIS REACHStanley Ma is the undisputed king of the Canadian food court. At the
beginning of 2018, the company he founded, the MTY group, was absorbing
yet another massive acquisition when it purchased the Imvescor Restaurant
Group for $248 million in cash and stocks. This move was aimed
at diversifying the food court king's assets by boosting the number of
sit-down restaurants in his portfolio. This acquisition included well-known
brands in Eastern Canada, such as Baton Rouge, Pizza Delight, and
Scores. Regardless of the industry, pure entrepreneurs share a passion
and commitment for their businesses. Stanley Ma is a perfect example of
a true entrepreneur. Let's find out more about his rise to success.
Who is he? You might not know the name, but you have probably had
a meal at one (if not dozens) of his 5700 restaurants across North America.
He built the MTY Group into a major force in the food-service sector, and
in 2018 (before the latest acquisition), its franchisees employed more than
25 000 people. Some of you may have even worked at one of its locations
at some point in your life. The MTY Group has restaurants that operate
under 75 separate banners (that are wholly owned subsidiaries or operating
under exclusive licenses)—Mr. Sub, Thai Express, Country Style, Jugo
Juice, KimChi, Tiki-Ming, Cultures, and Yogen Früz, to name a few. In total,
MTY has system-wide revenues of approximately $2.9 billion annually.
ORIGINS OF A SUCCESS STORY
It all began back in 1979 when a young entrepreneur named Stanley Ma
opened his first restaurant serving Chinese and Polynesian food. By 1983,
Mr. Ma had made his first steps into the world of franchising after launching
Tiki-Ming. This was the path that would eventually lead to exponential
growth. The organic expansion phase lasted from 1988 until 2008; it
was centred on internal development of new restaurant concepts. During
that time, 13 brands were created and nurtured from within. However,
during the last few years of that time, Mr. Ma and his team began to
simultaneously focus on expansion through acquisition. In fact, from 2001
until 2013, MTY spent more than $170 million acquiring 22 restaurant
brands. Another key moment occurred in 2010 when MTY was listed on
the Toronto Stock Exchange.
In recent years, additional acquisitions have enabled MTY to add to
the roster with retail brands such as Van Houtte Coffee, Koryo Korean
BBQ, Manchu Wok, Sense Asian, Wasabi Grill and Noodle, Extreme Pita,
and Mr. Burrito.
Some of the new acquisitions have provided MTY with a growing footprint
in the United States, but Mr. Ma is now looking beyond North American
options. Look at some of the new MTY franchise locations that have
opened their doors abroad: Sushi Shop in Qatar, Tiki-Ming in Lebanon,
Vanelli's in Kuwait, Sukiyaki in the United Arab Emirates, Tandori in Bahrain,
Pad Thai in Saudi Arabia, Extreme Pita in Australia, and many more.
As you can see, it is not simply an expansion of a single restaurant concept
to a strategic market; it is an expansion of the various brands under
the MTY banner, with the supporting expertise, appearing where opportunities
1. From what you have read, how does Mr. Ma fit the profile of an
2. What are the reasons for Mr. Ma's success where so many others
have failed (particularly in the food service business)?
3. How does the case demonstrate the important relationships
between franchisors and franchisees in the modern business world?
Describe the role each side plays in the success of the other.
4. How does the decision to list MTY on the Toronto Stock Exchange
relate to the overall strategy pursued by MTY in recent years?
5. Conduct some research and read the latest news about MTY. Is the
news positive or negative? Is there any additional news concerning
acquisitions and expansions?
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