July 07, 2015 // Franchising.com // NEW YORK – Sentinel Capital Partners, a private equity firm that invests in promising companies at the lower end of the middle market, today announced the acquisition of Fazoli’s Group, Inc., a franchisor and operator of 213 Fazoli’s restaurants in the United States. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky, Fazoli’s is the leading Italian fast casual dining concept that offers moderately priced, freshly-prepared Italian pasta entrees, sandwiches, pizza and salads in a convenient, friendly environment. Fazoli’s blends the low price point and speed of a quick service restaurant with the quality, atmosphere and service traditionally found in the casual dining segment. With strong brand awareness and a loyal customer base, Fazoli’s was named the 2013 Fast Casual Brand of the Year and its CEO, Carl Howard, the 2014 Fast Casual Dining Executive of the Year. In 2015, it was named one of Franchise Business Review’s “Top 40 Food Franchises.”
“Fazoli’s has consistently outperformed its competitors and will be a very strong addition to our restaurant portfolio,” said John McCormack, a partner at Sentinel. “The business has demonstrated robust financial performance and recently built impressive momentum. Fazoli’s is positioned as “affordable fast casual” and combines the strengths of the fast-casual, quick-service and full-service formats, which is a competitive differentiator and also provides resilience during economic downturns. We are highly impressed with Fazoli’s’ management team and look forward to working closely with them to drive future growth.”
“Our new partnership with Sentinel is an exciting move for us, and we plan to benefit from their deep investment experience in the restaurant sector,” said Carl Howard, CEO of Fazoli’s Group, Inc. “We have been engaged in a very exciting and successful period of investment, innovation and growth during which we sharpened the focus of our brand strategy, optimized and upgraded our menu, and expanded our geographic profile.”
Sentinel has broad experience investing in restaurant and franchise businesses. In total, Sentinel’s current restaurant portfolio comprises more than 2,300 units operating in 61 countries and generates annual systemwide sales of almost $4.0 billion. Sentinel’s restaurant investments include Newk’s Eatery, franchisor and operator of a rapidly growing, fast casual restaurant chain in the US Southeast; TGI Fridays, franchisor and operator of an iconic globally-recognized brand of American-style bar and grill restaurants; Checkers, a franchisor and operator of dual drive-thru quick service restaurants; Huddle House, a franchisor of family dining restaurants; Border Foods, a franchisee in the Taco Bell system; Falcon Holdings, the largest franchisee of Church's Chicken restaurants; and Southern California Pizza Company, a Pizza Hut franchisee operating in the greater Los Angeles market.
Sentinel Capital Partners specializes in buying and building businesses at the lower end of the middle market in the United States and Canada in partnership with management. Sentinel targets aerospace and defense, business services, consumer, distribution, food and restaurants, franchising, healthcare, and industrial businesses. Sentinel invests in management buyouts, recapitalizations, corporate divestitures, and going-private transactions of established businesses with EBITDA of up to $65 million. Sentinel also invests in special situations, including balance sheet restructurings, and operational turnarounds. For more information about Sentinel, visit www.sentinelpartners.com.
An American family favorite for more than 20 years, Fazoli’s is America’s largest Italian fast casual chain with 213 franchised and company restaurants. Fazoli’s restaurants feature a premium menu of freshly prepared Italian entrees, Submarinos® sandwiches and salads, a new service style featuring table service and a contemporary new restaurant design. Fazoli’s is expanding throughout the country. For more information about Fazoli’s, visit www.fazolis.com.