The Holiday Parks and Hospitality business, Blue Sky Leisure has today announced the sale of Zaks UK, including its three Norwich based American-themed Zaks restaurants, for an undisclosed sum.
The business has been sold to Neighbourhood Dining Limited – a firm owned and operated by Chris Carr and Ian Hacon – both of whom have a long history with Zaks, having jointly run the business for a number of years when working for Blue Sky Leisure. Spire acted for Neighbourhood Dining Limited.
A spokesperson for Blue Sky Leisure said: “Zaks is a Norfolk institution and it’s been an absolute privilege to have worked so closely with the Zaks brand and team for the last two decades. However, the time has come to pass on the reins. Ian and Chris have the energy, experience and enthusiasm needed to ensure the brand continues to delight the diners of Norwich and Norfolk, and we wish them and the team every success for the future.”
Chris, who led Zaks for 10 years between 2006 and 2016 and has more than 25 years in the hospitality sector, said: “Zaks is in my blood and I’ve never stopped being passionate about the brand. We’ve got a whole range of exciting ideas to take the business forward and I can’t wait to carry on the mission to be everyone’s favourite.”
Ian, who was CEO of Blue Sky Leisure between 2005 and 2014 and owns local wellbeing firm Energise.me, said the opportunity to return to the business as joint owner was too good to miss.
“Zaks is all about bringing people together,” he said adding: “I truly believe there is a strong need for a community-focused local brand in this sector dominated by national brands.”
Zaks started life in 1976 when local musician and entrepreneur Harvey Platt started serving up its famous foil-wrapped burgers from the iconic van on Castle Meadow in Norwich.
The business was bought by Blue Sky Leisure in 1998.
The team at Spire was lead by Matthew Downing, member and joint head of the Corporate and Commercial team. Matthew was assisted by Catherine Turner (Corporate and Commercial).
Matthew added “this was a great local transaction to be involved with and it was a pleasure working with Ian and Chris on buying a business they are both clearly very passionate about. We wish Ian and Chris every success with the new venture”.