Kahala Brands

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Kahala Brands
Industry Restaurant
Headquarters Scottsdale, Arizona, United States
Area served
Key people
  • Jeff Smit (COO of Kahala)
  • Stanley Ma (CEO of MTY)
Parent MTY Food Group
Website www.kahalamgmt.com

Kahala Brands is a wholly owned subsidiary of Canada-based MTY Food Group Inc. of Montreal, Quebec. Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Kahala is one of North America's largest holding company of franchise fast food restaurant companies.[2] In May 2016, the publicly traded Canadian MTY Food Group announced a friendly takeover deal with the Kahala Brands. MTY agreed to pay about US $300 million to acquire Kahala. The two companies generated near $2 billion in revenues in the previous year.[3][1] Jeff Smit was chosen to lead the US operations of MTY.[1]


Cold Stone Store.jpg

Surf City Squeeze was started in the early 1980s by Kevin Blackwell and his wife Kathi. Later, in 1998/1999, Sports Group International, Inc. (a company that was originally formed to distributed Spaulding-branded sports drinks) merged with Surf City Squeeze with Surf City Squeeze's management taking over full control of the company. Also in 1999, Sports Group International purchased Frullati Cafe & Bakery Chain, bringing the total number of its franchised locations to 200.[4][5]

In 2001, Kevin Blackwell changed the name of his company from Sports Group International to Kahala Corp. after terminating an agreement with Spaulding.[6] Also in 2000, Kahala Corp. then developed the Rollerz brand.

From 2002 to 2006, Kahala Corp. purchased Ranch One Grilled Chicken,[7] Samarai Sam's Teriyaki Grill,[8] Taco Time,[9] Great Steak,[10] Johnnie's New York Pizzeria, and Blimpie.[11] Kahala also acquired the license to Wafflo.

In 2007, Kahala Corp and Cold Stone Creamery agreed to merge creating a combined company holding 13 diversified brands. The combined company generated more than $1.1 billion in system wide sales in partnership with 3,000-plus franchisees and more than 4,600 retail locations.[12][13] As a result of the merger, Kahala's CEO Kevin Blackwell and Cold Stone Creamery's CEO and chairman Doug Ducey were respectively appoint chairman and CEO of the new combined company, Kahala-Cold Stone.[14] Ducey left a few months later to join tech start-up iMemories[15] after being forced out by Blackwell.[16][17]

In July 2007, Kahala-Cold Stone acquired Cereality Cereal Bar & Cafe.[18]

In 2012, Kahala signed a franchising deal with Phoenix-based America’s Taco Shop.[19]

In 2013, a controlling interest in Kahala Corp. was purchased by the Serruya Family of Canada.[20] The Serruyas own and founded Yogen Fruz, a chain with 1400 stores around the world. At that time, Michael Serruya became Chairman and Co-CEO of Kahala Corp. Shortly thereafter, Co-CEO Kevin Blackwell left the company. Today, the Serruya family has changed the company name from Kahala Corp to Kahala Brands to better align the focus of the business.

In June 2015, Kahala Brands purchased Planet Smoothie and Tasti D-Lite. This acquisition added 128 new locations to the overall company store count and increased the total of smoothie-focused locations to over 400 worldwide.[21][22]

Just a few month later in November 2015, Kahala Brands purchased the gourmet coffee and smoothie brand Maui Wowi.[23][24][25] At the time of the acquisition, Maui Wowi had with 400 mobile carts and 29 standalone retail units that operated by 200 franchisees. The following month, Kahala acquired Pinkberry in December.[26]

In July 2016, MTY Food Group Inc. of Montreal, Quebec in Canada purchased Kahala Brands for approximately US$310 million. Under the deal, Kahala remained in its headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona while MTY's US operations was move into Kahala's offices. Kahala's Chief Operating Officer Jeff Smit was chosen to lead the US operations of the combined entity.[1]


Taco Time Exterior.jpg
  • America's Taco Shop (Arizona, California, Maryland, Texas)
  • Blimpie (United States and Kuwait)
  • Cereality (Texas, West Virginia, Minnesota and Ohio; formerly Illinois)
  • Cold Stone Creamery (Bahrain, Canada (partnership with Burger King/Tim Hortons), China, Denmark, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, South Korea, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United States, Philippines, Kenya, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Finland, Jordan, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Vietnam and Singapore.).
  • Frullati Cafe & Bakery (Kuwait and United States)
  • Great Steak (Canada, Mexico, Kuwait and United States)
  • Johnnie’s New York Pizzeria (California, Florida, Oregon, Texas, and Washington)
  • Kahala Coffee Traders (California, Utah)
  • Maui Wowi Hawaiian (United States, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates)
  • NRgize Lifestyle Cafe (United States)
  • Planet Smoothie (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia) [27]
  • Pinkberry (Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Panama, Peru, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, United States, Philippines, Thailand)
  • Ranch One (Kuwait and United States)
  • Rollerz (California, D.C., Illinois, Nevada and Texas)
  • Samurai Sam's Teriyaki Grill (Kuwait and United States)
  • Surf City Squeeze (Canada, Saudi Arabia, Curaçao/Netherlands Antilles and United States)
  • Taco Time (Canada, Kuwait, Curaçao/Netherlands Antilles and United States)
  • Tasti D-Lite (Florida, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas)


  1. ^ a b c d "MTY Completes the Acquisition of Kahala Brands, Ltd.". PR Newswire (Press release). July 26, 2016. The operations of Kahala will stay in Kahala's current headquarters, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, while MTY's US operations will move into Kahala's offices. Mr. Jeff Smit, Kahala's Chief Operating Officer, will be leading the US operations of the combined entity. 
  2. ^ Jennings, Lisa (2007-05-27). "Kahala Merger Data". Nation's Restaurant News. Archived from the original on 2012-07-10. Retrieved 2008-11-30 – via FindArticles. 
  3. ^ "MTY Foods set to double in size with acquisition of Kahala Brand". Montreal Gazette. Canadian Press. May 25, 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-05-26. 
  4. ^ "Kahala Corp History". Kahala Corporation. 2008-11-30. Archived from the original on 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2008-11-30. 
  5. ^ "Sports Group International, Inc. Announces The Acquisition Of Frullati Cafe & Bakery". The Franchise Mall. May 26, 1999. 
  6. ^ "Sports Group International Inc. announces name change". Phoenix Business Journal. January 22, 2001. 
  7. ^ "Franchisor brings Ranch 1 to the Valley". Phoenix Business Journal. June 9, 2002. 
  8. ^ "Kahala Corp. Announces Acquisition of Samurai Sam's Teriyaki Grills". Business Wire (Press release). May 13, 2003. 
  9. ^ ""It Really Is" a Done Deal Between Taco Time and Kahala Corp.". Business Wire (Press release). November 19, 2003. 
  10. ^ "Kahala Corp. Announces Acquisition of Great Steak & Potato Restaurant Chain". Business Wire (Press release). April 1, 2004. 
  11. ^ "Kahala Corp Announces Acquisition of BLIMPIE Restaurant Chain". Business Wire (Press release). January 24, 2006. 
  12. ^ "Kahala, Cold Stone agree to merge". Phoenix Business Journal. May 11, 2007. 
  13. ^ Paterik, Stephanie (May 11, 2007). "Kahala to merge with Cold Stone". Tucson Citizen. 
  14. ^ Shepherd, Lauren (May 11, 2007). "Cold Stone Creamery, Kahala Join Forces". Washington Post. 
  15. ^ Larson, Jane (April 25, 2008). "Former Cold Stone CEO joins iMemories". Arizona Republic. 
  16. ^ "Ducey ousted by Kahala-Cold Stone". Nation's Restaurant News. September 18, 2007. (subscription required (help)). 
  17. ^ "Kahala Corp. Founder and Chief Executive Kevin Blackwell Replaces Long-Time Cold Stone Creamery Executive Doug Ducey". Business Wire (Press release). September 14, 2007. 
  18. ^ "Kahala-Cold Stone to Acquire Cereality Cereal Bar & Café". QSR Magazine. July 12, 2007. 
  19. ^ "America's Taco Shop signs franchise deal with Kahala". Phoenix Business Journal. October 19, 2012. 
  20. ^ Wiles, Russ (August 21, 2013). "Canadian investors buy stake in Scottsdale-based Kahala Corp.". Arizona Republic. 
  21. ^ "Kahala Brands Announces Purchase Of Planet Smoothie & Tasti D-Lite". Yahoo! Finance (Press release). 2015-06-02. Archived from the original on 2016-02-04. Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  22. ^ "Kahala Brands Announces Purchase Of Planet Smoothie & Tasti D-Lite: Company Grows Smoothie Footprint to More Than 400 Locations Worldwide". PR Newswire (Press release). June 2, 2015. 
  23. ^ Maze, Jonathan (November 3, 2015). "Kahala Brands buys Maui Wowi". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved 2015-12-02. (subscription required (help)). 
  24. ^ "Kahala Brands Announces Acquisition Of Maui Wowi Hawaiian: Company Grows Smoothie Footprint to More Than 800 Locations Worldwide". PR Newswire (Press release). November 3, 2015. 
  25. ^ Wallace, Alicia (November 3, 2015). "Kahala Brands buying Denver's Maui Wowi smoothie company". Denver Post. 
  26. ^ "Kahala Brands Announces Acquisition Of Pinkberry: Quick Service Restaurant Company to Expand to Include Iconic Frozen Yogurt Brand". PR Newswire (Press release). December 14, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Brands". Kahala Brands. 

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