Spudulike is set to create the UK's largest baked potato restaurant chain, having secured the acquisition of the entire share capital of rival fastfood operator Courts Quality Foods Limited, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Specialty Potatoes Universal Developments Limited.

The acquisition will boost the Spudulike chain to more than 50 outlets by the end of this year, as Courts controls rival fastfood restaurants such as Fat Jackets, FJ Cools and The Serious Sandwich Store.

Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed but funding was provided by the Bank of Scotland, and the enlarged group is expected to post an annual turnover over £15m (US$21.2m). The forecast annual PBIT is in excess of £1m. 

Tony Schlesinger, chairman of Spudulike, commented: "This acquisition is a quantum leap move for us and a corporate milestone in our development strategy. We do not plan to re-brand the restaurants we have added through the acquisition. The deal gives the Group size, greater revenue streams, added flexibility and more opportunities for expansion in the marketplace."

"We are confident about the long term prospects of the Group," he added, pointing out that the fastfood rivals are largely meat based, and Spudulike offers an important service for the vegetarians in the UK, whose ranks are estimated by the Vegetarian Society to be swelling at a rate of 2,000 people every week.

From its original high street base, Spudulike outlets are now largely located in regional shopping centres, and the deal will boost its presence in such locations throughout the UK. Now an independent, privately owned business, the company was controlled by the British School of Motoring (BSM) during the 1980s.