Roark Capital Group Acquires Corner Bakery Cafe and Il Fornaio

Roark primes Corner Bakery Cafe for national expansion through franchising ATLANTA, GA (June 13, 2011) - Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity firm, announced today that its affiliates have acquired Il Fornaio (America) Corporation, owner of Corner Bakery Cafe and Il Fornaio Restaurants and Bakeries.

Beginning in 1991 as a small bread bakery in Chicago, Corner Bakery Cafe has emerged over the last 20 years as a leader in the growing fast casual segment, serving guests made-to-order, hand-crafted favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and boasting segment-leading catering services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas and operating 119 locations nationwide, Corner Bakery Cafe launched a strategic franchise development program in 2007 to attract seasoned franchise partners with multi-unit restaurant and retail experience.

Il Fornaio, averaging over $5 million in annual sales per restaurant, has been a recognized leader in the upscale Italian segment for over 20 years. Founded in Italy and based in Corte Madera, California, Il Fornaio owns and operates 22 full-service Italian restaurants in California and across the United States that serve creatively prepared, premium-quality Italian cuisine based on authentic regional Italian recipes. Il Fornaio's wholesale bakeries produce a wide variety of hand-made breads, pastries and other artisan baked goods for sale at their own locations and to high-quality grocers and food service customers across the US.

Neal Aronson, Managing Partner of Roark, said, "Mike Hislop and his outstanding teams at Corner Bakery Cafe and Il Fornaio have built two terrific brands with strong points of differentiation and excellent consumer appeal. We are very excited to partner with Mike to help grow the business."

"The partnership with Roark is a perfect fit, providing each brand with unique opportunities," said Hislop, CEO of Il Fornaio (America) Corporation. "Our ability to leverage Roark's strong background and extensive resources within the franchise and restaurant industries allows us to better serve our current Corner Bakery Cafe partners, while accelerating our pursuit of new franchisees."

With this acquisition, Roark has invested in 20 franchise businesses that operate in 50 states and 43 countries. Corner Bakery Cafe and Il Fornaio will be Roark's 10th restaurant investment along with FOCUS Brands, parent company of Carvel Ice Cream, Cinnabon, Schlotzsky's, Moe's Southwest Grill, Auntie Anne's Pretzel's and the Franchisor of Seattle's Best Coffee on certain military bases and in certain international markets, as well as McAlister's Deli, and Wingstop, which are not affiliated with FOCUS Brands. Other franchise and brand management companies owned by Roark include Batteries Plus, Pet Valu, Bosley's Pets, FastSigns, Money Mailer, and Atkins Nutritionals.

About Roark Capital Group

Roark Capital Group is an Atlanta-based private equity firm that specializes in business and consumer service companies with attractive growth prospects. Roark focuses on middle-market investment opportunities through family-owned business transfers, management/corporate buyouts, recapitalizations, going-private transactions, and corporate divestitures. Specific areas of focus include franchise, food and restaurants, brand management, marketing services, environmental services and business services. The firm has more than $1.5 billion of equity capital under management. For more information, visit

About Corner Bakery Cafe

Corner Bakery Cafe is a fast-casual restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner to guests in Atlanta, Chicago, Clifton, NJ, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, El Paso, Houston, Jackson, Miss., Los Angeles/Orange County, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Diego and Washington D.C. Established in 1991, Corner Bakery Cafe restaurants are owned and operated by CBC Restaurant Corp. with 119 company-owned and franchised locations around the country. Founded on a philosophy of creating a place for people to relax and gather with family and friends, Corner Bakery Cafe features innovative, seasonal menu options while delivering a premier bakery cafe experience in the heart of neighborhoods everywhere. For more information, visit

About Il Fornaio

Il Fornaio owns and operates 22 full-service Italian restaurants in California and across the United States that serve creatively prepared, premium-quality Italian cuisine based on authentic regional Italian recipes. The restaurants also house retail markets offering Il Fornaio's unique baked goods, prepared foods and a variety of Il Fornaio-brand products. Il Fornaio also operates wholesale bakeries that produce more than 100 varieties of fresh, hand-made breads, pastries and other baked goods for sale at their own locations and to high-quality grocery stores, coffee retailers, hotels and other fine restaurants. For more information, visit

Media Contact Information

Erin Griffin Cohn & Wolfe for Corner Bakery Cafe (512) 542-2826

Debra Vilchis Fishman PR for Roark Capital Group (847) 945-1300, ext. 227



comments powered by Disqus

Franchise News Room »

News By Industry »

Featured Opportunities

Red Mango
Based in Dallas and with more than 300 locations across the U.S., Mexico, El Salvador and Uruguay, Red Mango is a rapidly-expanding retailer of...
Massage Envy
Massage Envy clinics are designed to provide a compelling image, an inviting and functional environment and the highest degree of operational...
Pearle Vision
Pearle Vision is one of the most recognizable, premium optical franchises, offering a proven business model in an industry with sustainable demand.
Liberty Tax Service
A leading income tax preparation franchise in the U.S. and Canada.
Firehouse Subs
We are currently looking for hard-working, dedicated people to become Area Representatives in markets throughout the United States.
Share This Page

Subscribe to Franchising Express

A Franchise Update Media Production
Franchise Update Media
P.O. Box 20547
San Jose, CA 95160
PH. (408) 402-5681
In Loving Memory Of Timothy Gardner (1987-2014)

Copyright © 2001 - 2018.
All Rights Reserved.