A Mugg and Bean restaurant in Parkhurst. File picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Johannesburg - Mugg & Bean, which is owned by casual dining giant Famous Brands, says its founder Ben Conrad Filmalter has died after losing his battle with Leukaemia.

The company said in a statement, which it issued with a “heavy heart” late yesterday afternoon that he passed away peacefully on Tuesday morning.

During Filmalter’s working life, he conceptualised and developed more than 50 unique restaurants. Among his many achievements was Mugg & Bean.

According to publicly available information, he was born in August 1949 and - along with his wife - launched Mugg & Bean at the V&A Waterfront in 1996, after a visit to a coffee shop in Chicago, US.

He also experimented with the first “On the Move” unit at OR Tambo International Airport.

Some 20 years later, Mugg & Bean has grown into a restaurant with more then 200 outlets.

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Marketing executive Lee-Ann Cullingworth says the Mugg & Bean family is sorrowful.

“Today is truly a sad day for every single Mugg & Beaner. Ben Filmalter will be remembered for all the lives that he has touched and inspired, and his spirit of generosity will continue to live on at the core of every Mugg & Bean.”

Ben Filmalter leaves behind his wife, Judi and two sons, Anthony and Adam.