Among the biggest trends we’ve seen in recent years has been the eager investment by private equity groups into the franchise sector. Here’s another one: Acon Investments, a Washington D.C.-based private equity group that recently bought 40 Applebee’s units in the Midwest and hopes to do more.
The second location of the Austin juice and smoothie concept Daily Juice was in the basement of an old house that was converted for business use. And yet it still sold a lot of smoothies. So the concept should be really popular with a little refinement, right? John Martin thinks it will.
Is the restaurant deal dead? Maybe not, but deal-based restaurant traffic continues to diminish, according to the Chicago-based market research firm NPD Group, which found that restaurant visits on a deal, including coupons, BOGO deals and discounts, fell 3 percent last year.
Commodity spikes have befuddled the restaurant industry periodically for years, but especially so at Taco Cabana, the Texas-based Mexican chain that’s part of the Fiesta Restaurant Group. The problem: Every time the company increased prices to meet those costs, its traffic would suffer.
Tilman Fertitta took Landry’s Restaurants private in 2010 after a 17-year run in the public markets. He’s since expanded his holdings considerably, adding a long lineup of chains from Claim Jumper to Morton’s and is now eyeing Ark Restaurants. Could he be setting up for a return to Wall Street?
The restaurant industry had a good 2012, or at least the 500 largest chains did, according to Technomic. The Chicago-based restaurant consulting firm said today that sales for the 500 largest concepts grew 4.9 percent last year—a post-recessionary peak.
Private equity groups bought a lot of restaurants in 2012. According to the latest Chain Restaurant Merger & Acquisition Census from the Chicago-based investment banker J.H. Chapman, acquisitions in the restaurant industry leveled off last year, but at a robust clip, led by equity firms.
The growing size of some of country’s largest restaurant franchisees, and the interest in those companies by private equity groups, has some people wondering whether we’ll see some franchisees go public soon. Maybe, but if they do such companies tend to perform poorly on Wall Street.
Buffalo Wild Wings took its first step toward becoming a multi-concept operator today, when it announced that it has made a minority investment in PizzaRev, a Los Angeles-based fast casual pizza chain whose reputation makes it seem much larger than its three units.
It’s amazing how fast you can run when one of your feet isn’t stuck in a bucket. That’s been the experience of Fiesta Restaurant Group, the Texas-based operator of a pair of Mexican fast casual restaurants that has flourished on Wall Street since being spun off by Carrols Restaurant Group.
Restaurants can be a canary in a coalmine. Consider that casual dining sales began turning in 2007 and 2008, before anybody had ever uttered the word “recession.” If that’s the case, then we should probably worry about a recent run of negative numbers coming from the industry.
We’re years into a supposed economic recovery and, though things are looking up, spending remains frustratingly restrained. Consumers continue to focus on value and convenience above everything else. This might be the perfect environment for pizza chains, which have been performing extremely well.
John Chidsey is back in the restaurant business. Sort of. The former chairman and CEO of Burger King is making a comeback of sorts with a restaurant-focused technology company known as Red Book Connect—a cloud-based suite of back-of-the-house software services.
Concerns abound in the restaurant industry at the moment: the payroll tax, a looming health insurance mandate, commodity costs and a desire by politicians and the public to boost the minimum wage to $9 an hour. But lenders targeting the restaurant industry don’t appear overly concerned by any of these issues.
As they’ve come out with their fourth quarter financials, a number of casual dining restaurant chains, including BJ’s Restaurant Group and DineEquity, have uttered dismal warnings about the current year. Now we’ve got our first evidence of how bad it might be for them, thanks to Knapp Track.
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