SumoSalad merging with THR1VE, targeting e-commerce

Sumo SaladHealthy fast food chain SumoSalad has today announced it has signed a heads of agreement to merge with THR1VE, an omnichannel brand focused on functional nutrition solutions.

The move is the first step towards the creation of a house of wellness brands, Sumo founder Luke Baylis said.

“The combination of SumoSalad and THR1VE is the first step of what I see as a broader category roll up opportunity. By leveraging THR1VE’s expertise in technology and direct to consumer e-commerce it is the perfect pairing with the power of Sumo’s leading brand positioning and awareness, national reach, and deep operational expertise.”

SumoSalad will continue with its retail portfolio, introducing wellness cafes as the next iteration of the food franchise and the THR1VE brand will play a key role in this new concept. Sumo has also just made its first foray into the grocery market, SumoWell, and expects this to expand substantially.

Josh Sparks, CEO and founder of THR1VE, said his brand is the perfect complement to SumoSalad and allows each to leverage strengths to provide a consolidated offering.

“We couldn’t be more excited about this next stage of the journey, together with Sumo. Luke is the original health and wellness pioneer in the Australian nutrition and retail landscape, and we have been incredibly impressed with how he has evolved the SumoSalad brand,” he said.

Sparks has clocked up leadership roles as CEO of sass & bide, MD with Urban Outfitters Inc, and CEO of Thom Browne New York. He established his business on a personal passion for paleo and primal health principles, taking the concept into restaurants, ready meals and a training program.

As part of the merger with Sumo, THR1VE has placed into voluntary administration the subsidiary that operates its nine company-owned restaurant sites.

“The unfortunate but appropriate restructure of our restaurant subsidiary has not been taken lightly,” said Sparks.

The intention is to work with administrators Scott Langdon and Rahul Goyal at KordaMentha to ensure staff entitlements are fully honoured, and to work with Sumo to redeploy as many staff as possible across the merged group.

The voluntary administration process does not impact SumoSalad’s restaurant operations or THR1VE’s ready meal business, which distributes its ready meals via a company-run e-commerce platform and through wholesale partners.

Baylis said while the merger is very much about growth it has to be sustainable. “A this point in time, operating two restaurant chains with different brands is not realistic.”
Post merger, the new business will have a footprint of more than 65 restaurants, online commerce offerings and emerging partnerships with major grocery chains.

“Josh Sparks has done an amazing job building the THR1VE brand over the past six years into one of the most recognised performance focused nutrition brands in Australia, and has enjoyed extraordinary success launching direct to consumer e-commerce and a range of supermarket ready meals.

“This is just the start for the merged entity. We have a number of other transformational opportunities in the pipeline that we expect will delight customers and we’re excited to share these in the new year,” said Baylis.

This story originally appeared on sister-site Inside Franchise Business.

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