Searchlight Capital Partners buys M&M Meat Shops
New management installed in bid to boost share for frozen food retailer
Private equity firm Searchlight Capital Partners has bought M&M Meat Shops Ltd., a frozen food retailer with 400 shops across Canada.
The new owner plans to change the management at M&M, which has seen its sales fall as consumers move from frozen food to more fresh food.
On Wednesday, Searchlight announced Andy O’Brien, formerly CEO of Works Gourmet Burger Bistro, would take over as head of M&M and Sam Fliorio, formerly president of Kelsey’s Bar & Grill, would become chief financial officer.
M&M, based in Kitchener, Ont., was founded in 1980 by Mac Voisin, who will remain an adviser to the company.
"Canadians love and trust M&M Meat Shops because they can count on the quality and convenience of its products. I am confident that the new team will continue to ensure that the brand remains a Canadian favourite," Voisin said in a press statement.
Searchlight founding partner Erol Uzumeri said it will invest in M&M to realize “the growth potential of the company."
M&M is an “iconic brand” recognized for its high-quality products and with a great franchise base, Uzumeri.
“We saw an opportunity to grow the business,” he told CBC News.
“There’s a great base to build on, but it hasn’t evolved as quickly as it could. We see opportunity to conduct merchandising, marketing, new product experiences,” he said.
Uzumeri said one key is improving the customer experience, by reorganizing stores and making more of the products visible so people can experiment.
“We know it’s a very competitive retail environment, so we’re going to work very hard at doing that,” he said.
With traditional grocers focusing more on fresh food, Searchlight hopes to revive consumer interest in frozen products by emphasizing the freshness and quality of the products.
Frozen products are continually increasing in quality, as well as becoming more versatile, Uzumeri said.
"One of the things we have to communicate is the benefits of flash frozen food, in terms of keeping the nutrients in the food and reducing food waste," he said.