A Steers fast food outlet in Johannesburg. Steers falls under Famous Brands. File picture: Ihsaan Haffejee

Johannesburg - South African fast food group Famous Brands bought Britain's Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) for R2.1 billion ($143.3 million), saving nearly a fifth on the price due to the weaker pound in the wake of Brexit, the firm said on Thursday.

The South African group, which also owns casual dining chain Wimpy UK and fast food assets such as Steers and Debonairs, plans to double the upmarket burger chain's 75 British stores in the next five years.

“Brexit has had some upside for us,” Famous Brands group adviser for M&A Kevin Hedderwick told Reuters.

The firm started negotiations with GBK earlier this year and saved as much as 700 million rand on the acquisition, according to Hedderwick, as the pound slumped following Britain's decision to leave the European Union and South Africa's rand firmed after relatively peaceful local elections.

Hedderwick sees GBK opening 10-15 new restaurants in Britain per year and plans to expand further in Ireland and take the gourmet burger concept to South Africa.

“The fast-casual premium environment is pretty recession proof,” he said.