Carnivore owner Tamarind acquires Kengeles


Revellers at Kengeles. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Tamarind Group, the owners of Carnivore restaurant, have acquired Kengeles, giving it a presence in the high-end Lavington.

The Competition Authority has approved the deal that underlines Tamarind’s expansion in recent months including the opening of a Sh1.2 billion hotel in Nairobi.

The acquisition marks a new chapter for Kengeles whose restaurants dropped from nine outlets in early 2000s to one, on what was blamed on a failed franchise model.

“The merger will not affect competition negatively; and the combined turnover of the parties for the preceding year, 2016, was Sh1,224,757,242. However, the target had a turnover of Sh94,067,983, which is less than Sh100 million, and therefore, the transaction meets the threshold for exclusion under the Merger Threshold Guidelines,” read the notice.

Mr Gavin Bell, who founded Kengeles in 1998, attempted the model where he handed operation of outlets to individual owner operators. The brand made losses accruing a debt of nearly Sh200 million before Mr Bell returned to turnaround the remaining restaurant.

READ: Tamarind adds high-end hotel to its stable

Mr Bell, currently the director of food and beverage operations at Tamarind Management Limited shifted his focus to launching KFC in the country as the general manager for Kuku Foods, the local franchise holder, before he left in 2014 to rebuild his Kengeles brand.

Last year, he joined the Tamarind Group. He had consulted for the group on the set up of its Roast by Carnivore restaurant in Karen. The group manages several establishments across Kenya including Tamarind Nairobi and Mombasa, the Carnivore, Tamambo Village Market and Tamambo Karen Bixen Coffee Garden.