April 04, 2012 // Franchising.com // Chattanooga, TN – Today the shareholders of The Krystal Company (“Krystal”), a 360-unit hamburger chain located in 11 states, announced the appointment of three top officers. The new leadership team will help oversee the 80-year-old hamburger chain, which was recently acquired by Argonne Capital Group, LLC, a private investment firm based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Doug Pendergast has been tapped to serve as the CEO of the iconic brand, replacing James Fred Exum Jr. A 12-year restaurant industry veteran, Pendergast comes to Krystal from Chattanooga-based CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, Inc., where he served as Chief Development & Franchising Officer. Prior to joining CraftWorks, Pendergast was EVP & Chief Franchise Officer at Church’s Chicken where he and his team grew Church’s by 250 units over a five-year period.
“I am delighted to be part of a company with both a deep history and strong growth potential,” said Doug Pendergast, CEO of Krystal. “The leadership team and investors deserve tremendous credit for stabilizing the company and building a sound foundation for expansion.”
The Executive Board also named Al Ryan as the new Vice President of Operations and Partha Mukherjee as Chief Information Officer. Ryan most recently served as Vice President of International Operations for Church’s Chicken, managing 450 restaurants. Prior to joining Church’s, he was Director of Operations for Domino’s Pizza. Mukherjee is also a Church’s veteran, most recently serving as Chief Information Officer of the quick service restaurant (QSR) chain.
“By adding these new players to an already talented management slate, we’re building a team that will lead Krystal along the steep growth trajectory established in recent months,” said Harsha V. Agadi, non-executive chairman of the board at Krystal. “Our brand and our customers have a great future ahead.”
On March 22, 2012, Argonne Capital, an Atlanta-based private investment firm, announced its purchase of The Krystal Company for an undisclosed amount.
The fast food icon, made famous by small burgers with a big taste craved by millions throughout the South, finished 2011 with increased sales and consistently outperformed the overall QSR sandwich category in driving traffic last year. The company continues to experience growth in 2012.
The Krystal Company is well known for its signature menu item, the famous Krystal Burger, with its steamed-in onion flavor, which is always served hot and fresh. Founded in 1932, Krystal is a southern icon, known not only for its signature product, but also for, its hospitality and value. The Krystal experience is one that virtually every man, woman and child raised in the South has shared. The Krystal brand – and the great food, service, value and setting that it represents – has a prominent place in the South’s cultural landscape. The Krystal Company is the oldest quick service restaurant chain in the South and the second oldest in the United States. For more information, visit Krystal.com.
Argonne Capital Group is a private investment firm, founded in 2003, based out of Atlanta, GA. Led by Michael Klump, Founder and President, and Karl Jaeger, Managing Director, the firm focuses on the acquisition and growth of positive cash flow businesses primarily in the real estate, restaurant, and retail industries. Argonne's portfolio includes over 700 Krystal, IHOP, Applebee’s and Stevi B’s Pizza restaurant locations, in addition to investments in RCG Ventures, a leading real estate investment firm, and Azalea Homes, a residential development company. For more information about Argonne, please visit: www.argonnecapital.com.