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Yuppiechef founders resign 9 months after Mr Price takeover

Yuppiechef founders Andrew Smith and Shane Dryden have resigned, less than a year after the kitchen and homeware retailer was acquired by retail giant Mr Price Group for approximately R470m.
From left: Yuppiechef founders Andrew Smith and Shane Dryden with staff at a store opening. Source: Yuppiechef
From left: Yuppiechef founders Andrew Smith and Shane Dryden with staff at a store opening. Source: Yuppiechef

The deal came into effect on 1 August 2021, and Mr Price confirmed at the time that Yuppiechef's management team would continue to run the business with the full support of the group’s executive team.

In a statement on the matter shared with Bizcommunity, Mr Price said, "Our original intention and hope were always that Andrew and Shane would lead the business for at least the first few years of this journey with Mr Price. However, they have both realised that the years of building the brand and getting the business to the place of sale have taken their toll. Upon reflection, they also realised that their skills and passion lay in starting a business rather than leading the business through its second phase of growth and scalability.

"They have developed an iconic brand and put everything on the line to build it into what it has become. A good leader always builds a team of people that can journey beyond what was originally started and go on to achieve even greater things. Andrew and Shane have done this, and we believe that they have built a team capable of writing the next chapter in Yuppiechef’s story."

Creating a category leader

Smith and Dryden started Yuppiechef from a home in Plumstead, Cape Town with a vision to build a platform for the distribution of aspirational kitchen and homeware brands. The company soon grew into a front-runner in South Africa’s emerging online retail space at the time, and following the brand's expansion into physical retail Yuppiechef has grown into a respected omnichannel retailer and category leader.

The business has two primary operations, namely: Yuppiechef Online, the retail division comprising the online platform and stores, as well as a wholesale division, which develops and imports branded goods for wholesale distribution.

When Mr Price announced its intention to purchase Yuppiechef, it said the deal would allow it to expand in South Africa through an established, high-growth omnichannel brand and gain access to a higher LSM customer base, enabling growth of its share-of-wallet through aspirational value spending.

According to Mr Price, the resignation of the Yuppiechef founders will not hinder its growth plans for the Yuppiechef business. "The team is highly skilled, driven and has the ability to execute what remains an ambitious growth plan. The appointment of a new leader will take place in due course. Andrew and Shane will remain in place for the next few months and guide the business through this transition."

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