Fournews, a South African franchise group, has acquired a 50% share in Hello Tomato, a brand specialising in pizza and pasta. John & Gerry’s Brands, which played an integral part in the growth of both Europa and Fego Cafe to over 60 stores in South Africa, is behind Hello Tomato and retains 50% of the company.
Launched in August 2015 Hello Tomato was conceived in Italy, inspired by New York and born in Joburg. Drawing on elements of authentic modern Italian eating, it aims to be affordable and unpretentious.
“We follow a policy of fresh ingredients; made to order, by hand,” says John Khoury, MD of Hello Tomato. “Our mantra is to make authentic pizza and pasta, following age old Italian methods. With an authentically Italian base product, we then add a modern and uniquely South African appeal in the form of toppings and creative combinations.”
The menu is continually updated, with the bottom four sellers in each section being replaced with new items.
Fournews diversifies portfolio
Established in South Africa in 1995, Fournews has developed a portfolio of successful brands over the past 21 years, including News Cafe, Moyo, Brooklyn Brothers and Krispy Kreme. The Hello Tomato acquisition was driven by the company’s love for the John & Gerry’s Brands founders’ passion, expertise and years of experience in the food and beverage industry. In a bid to diversify its portfolio, Fournews is expanding into the fast-casual category and Hello Tomato’s artisanal roots create a unique offering for the business.
“We are able to leverage and benefit from the support and infrastructure Fournews has to offer us, allowing us to concentrate on the core ethos of the brand being the food, experience and creative process,” concludes Khoury.
Currently, Hello Tomato’s Italian-inspired food can be accessed at Riverside Shopping Centre, Mall of Africa and Kyalami Corner Shopping Centre.