Food / Restaurants



 

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Border Foods, Inc.

www.tacobell.com

Corporate Carveout
Only Store / Field Operations Included
Built Management Team
Restructured Operations
Subsequent Add-On Acquisitions

Press Releases
01/2000
12/1997
09/1996


Border Foods, a Minnesota company originally organized by Sentinel Capital Partners and management, owns, operates, and franchises 170 Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC restaurants in Minnesota, and has exclusive rights to develop the Taco Bell brand in that state.

In 1996, Sentinel Capital Partners orgainzed and financed Border Foods to acquire its initial 75 restaurants from Taco Bell Corporation, at the time a subsidiary of Pepsico, in a private equity transaction valued at $33 million. Taco Bell, with $6.0 billion in systemwide revenues and more than 6,800 restaurants, is the largest Mexican food Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) operation in the United States and the fourth largest QSR operation nationwide. Strucured as a franchisor, Taco Bell has a 70% share of the Mexican food QSR market, both nationwide and in Minnesota.

In December 1999, after achieving substantially all of its investment objectives, Sentinel sold its interest in Border Foods to management in a recapitalization transaction. Under Sentinel's ownership, Border Foords was transformed into a standalone business with its own management and corporate infrastructure from a regional group of stores tightly integrated into Taco Bell's existing backbone. During this period, Border Foods' sales grew by more than 40% and its profitability increased 75%. With its management as the majority owner, Border Foods is aggressively expanding its existing core Taco Bell business and its newly acquired Pizza Hut and KFC franchises.

Sentinel originated, sponsored and provided the private equity financing for the original formation of Border Foods and structured and arranged debt financing for the recapitalization. It is also the only U.S. private equity firm to have secured exclusive statewide development rights from Taco Bell. Border Foods is well positioned to acquire additional restaurants from Tricon Global Restaurants (NYSE: YUM), the current parent company of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC, which operates one of the largest worldwide QSR operations with more than 25,000 units.



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Buffets, Inc.

www.buffet.com

Take-Private Transaction
Management Buyout
Subsequent Add-On Acquisitions

Press Releases
05/2004
06/2002
10/2000


Buffets, Inc., headquartered in Eagan, Minnesota, is the largest operator of buffet-style restaurants in the U.S. with 410 restaurants operating under the HomeTown Buffet or Old Country Buffet brand names in 38 states. Buffets is positioned in the mid-scale dining segment and offers a convenient, value-priced selection of high quality food and excellent customer service. With 22% of the $4.2 billion buffet/cafeteria segment, a share nearly double that of its next largest competitor, Buffets leads a segment that has enjoyed a 17% compound annual growth rate since 1990. With innovations such as the scatter-bar system and all-inclusive pricing, Buffets' brands are synonymous with the modern buffet concept.

Buffets' formula of exceptional value, quality, service and convenience has generated consistent growth in sales and profits for the past 16 years. Management's strategic objective is to reinforce Buffets' position as the market leader in the buffet-style restaurant segment by expanding its core Old Country Buffet and HomeTown Buffet concepts.

In October 2000, Sentinel Capital Partners, together with Caxton-Iseman Capital, Inc., a New York-based private equity firm, took Buffets private in a going private transaction valued at $665 million. Lehman Brothers Inc., Fleet Securities Inc. and First Union National Bank provided senior debt financing. Credit Suisse First Boston Corp. arranged mezzanine financing. Buffets' management also invested in the transaction.



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Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc.

www.checkers.com

Management Buyout

Press Releases
04/2017
03/2014


Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, headquartered in Tampa, Florida, is a franchisor and operator of Checkers® and Rally's® restaurants. With a more than 40-year history, the Checkers system consists of 450 franchised and 332 company-owned locations with established strongholds in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest. Checkers is the largest QSR operator of dual drive-through restaurants and differentiates itself through its craveable food and exceptional value. Checkers/Rally’s operates within the $65 billion hamburger QSR market and has achieved steady growth since 2001.

Checkers is known for providing guests with fresh and irresistibly good food and for its signature buildings and trade dress that evoke timeless American imagery. Checkers provides a differentiated menu with robust flavors, delivered to consumers at an exceptional value. The Checkers system generates more than $700 million in annual system-wide sales.

Having owned the business for three years and having achieved our investment objectives, in April 2017, Checkers was sold to another private firm in a management buyout. Since Sentinel's original investment, Checkers generated three consecutive years of positive same store sales and significantly expanded its geographic footprint. During our ownership, Checkers' profitability grew by almost 40%. Checkers remains well positioned to continue growing under the leadership of its outstanding management team.



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Falcon Holdings, LLC

www.falconholdings.com

Debt Restructuring / Recapitalization
Operational Turnaround

Press Releases
05/2005
12/1999


Falcon Holdings, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, owns, operates, and franchises 97 Church's® Chicken Restaurants in Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Dayton, Richmond, and Columbus, making it the largest franchisee in the worldwide Church's system. Falcon has also secured exclusive rights to develop the Church's brand in Indianapolis and Richmond, and is well positioned to build and acquire additional restaurants within the fragmented Church's system.

With more than $800 million in system-wide revenues and 1,400 restaurants worldwide, Church's is the second largest chicken quick service restaurant chain in the United States. Established more than 45 years ago and structured as a franchisor, Church's specializes in southern-style chicken and follows a model based on focused menu selection, value pricing and an emphasis on take-out.

Church's Chicken was formerly a wholly owned subsidiary of AFC Enterprises, which franchised the Church's concept and also owned and operated Church's restaurants. AFC Enterprises was one of the world's largest operators and franchisors of restaurants, bakeries and cafes with more than 3,500 restaurants in 27 countries. In addition to Church's Chicken, AFC also owned Seattle Coffee Company®, with its Seattle's Best Coffee® and Torrefazione Italita® brands, Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits®, and Cinnabon® World Famous Cinnamon Rolls.

In November 1999, Falcon was organized by Sentinel Capital Partners and management to acquire the 97 Church's restaurants from Atlanta Franchise Development Corporation in an operational turnaround and restructuring transaction valued at $35 million. Sentinel sponsored the transaction, secured the debt financing, and provided the private equity.

In May 2005, after achieving substantially all of its investment objectives, Sentinel sold Falcon to its management team. Under Sentinel's ownership, Falcon was transformed into a standalone business with its own management and corporate infrastructure from a regional group of stores operated remotely from Atlanta, the headquarters location of franchisor Church's Chicken. During our five-year ownership, Falcon's sales grew substantially and its profits more than tripled.



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Fazoli's Group Inc.

www.fazolis.com

Management buyout

Press Releases
07/2015


Fazoli's Group, Inc. is a franchisor and operator of Italian fast casual restaurants in the United States and is well positioned to accelerate its growth in the rapidly expanding fast casual segment of the restaurant industry.

Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky, Fazoli's is the leading Italian fast casual dining concept that offers moderately priced, freshly-prepared 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 Franchise Business Review's "Top 40 Food Franchises" in 2015.



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Huddle House, Inc.

www.huddlehouse.com

Management Buyout

Press Releases
03/2012


Huddle House, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is a leading franchisor of family dining restaurants serving southeastern communities. With its nearly 50-year history, Huddle House is one of the oldest franchise systems in the country. Huddle House was founded by John Sparks, who had opened a few restaurants under various names. John needed a great name for his new restaurant chain. One evening in Decatur, Georgia, he saw a boy meeting friends after football practice holding his helmet in one hand and a football in the other. It looked as if the group were "huddled up" talking and laughing together. It was at that moment he decided that Huddle House was the perfect name for the restaurant chain and it would be the place where folks would gather, or "huddle up," for great food and good times after Friday night football games.

Huddle House focuses on serving quality food in warm, friendly environments that bring communities together. Huddle House offers customers “Any Meal. Any Time.” with a broad menu of high-quality, cooked-to-order food, and 24-hour service, and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all day. Huddle House has more than 375 franchised units and 17 company-owned units in the Southeast that generate more than $225 million in annual system-wide sales.



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Newk's Eatery

www.newks.com

Management buyout

Press Releases
03/2014


Newk's Eatery, headquartered in Jackson, Mississipi, is a franchisor and operator of fast casual restaurants. Newk's is a rapidly growing market leader in the fast casual restaurant segment throughout the Southeast and is well positioned to accelerate its growth in the rapidly expanding fast casual segment of the restaurant industry.

Newk's began in 2004 as a sandwich shop in Oxford, Mississippi and has grown into one of the fastest growing franchisors of fast casual restaurants. Newk's offers a diverse menu of high quality, made-from-scratch sandwiches, soups, salads, and pizzas.



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NorSun Food Group

www.norsun.com

Management Buyout
Transition from Founder Ownership

Press Releases
11/1999


NorSun Food Group, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a leading supplier and manufacturer of specialty food ingredients to large packaged food companies and restaurant chains. NorSun has created and maintained a leading share of the industrial Individually Quick Frozen ("IQF") roasted and whole baked potato market and has grown rapidly over the past several years. Customers such as Nestle, ConAgra, Pillsbury and Campbell Soup use NorSun's ingredients in frozen entrees or soups. NorSun also develops proprietary, customized flavors and processes for its customers. The company owns specialty processing plants in Fort Kent, Maine, and Rexburg, Idaho.

NorSun's growth is being driven by expansion of the Home Meal Replacement category; increased outsourcing by large branded food companies; the introduction and early acceptance of NorSun's specialized food ingredients in restaurant and supermarket channels; healthy eating trends (NorSun's products are fat-free); and growth in the roasted/flame-broiled vegetable category.

In 1999, Sentinel Capital Partners and management acquired NorSun in a management buyout transaction valued at $43 million. Sentinel sponsored the acquisition, arranged the debt and provided private equity financing.

In December 2005, after having owned the company for six years, Sentinel sold NorSun to Dickinson Frozen Foods, Inc., a leading provider of individually quick frozen onions and peppers to large industrial food processors and food service companies.



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Southern California Pizza Co., LLC

www.pizzahut.com

Corporate Carveout
Only Store / Field Operations Included
Built Management Team and Created Corporate Infrastructure
Subsequent Add-On Acquisitions

Press Releases
12/2012
08/2009
08/2008


Southern California Pizza, a Corona, California company organized by Sentinel and management, owns and operates 224 Pizza Hut restaurants in the greater Los Angeles market, and has rights to develop the Pizza Hut brand in this region.

In 2008, Sentinel acquired an initial block of 123 of restaurants in a corporate divestiture transaction from franchisor Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. This was Sentinel's third investment in the quick-service restaurant sector and its second in the Yum! Brands system. Sentinel's two prior quick-service restaurant investments—Border Foods, a Taco Bell franchisee (part of Yum! Brands), and Falcon Holdings, a Church's Chicken franchisee—were both highly successful. Sentinel made the acquisition through an investment in newly-formed Southern California Pizza Company.

In August 2009, Southern California Pizza acquired an additional 98 Pizza Huts in northern Los Angeles, making it the largest franchisee in California and the third largest in the Pizza Hut system, which operates more than 7,500 QSRs worldwide. Sentinel originated and sponsored the transaction, arranged the acquisition debt and provided equity financing from Sentinel Capital Partners III, L.P.

Sentinel Capital Partners also originated, sponsored and provided the private equity financing for the original formation of Southern California Pizza and structured and arranged debt financing for the acquisition.

In December 2012, after owning the business for more than four years and achieving substantially all of our investment objectives, Southern California Pizza was sold to another private equity firm. Under Sentinel's ownership, Southern California Pizza was transformed into a standalone business with its own management and corporate infrastructure from a regional group of stores tightly integrated into Pizza Hut's existing infrastructure. During this period, Southern California Pizza grew substantially and almost tripled its profitability. Southern California Pizza remains well positioned to continue growing under the leadership of its superb management team.



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TGI Fridays, Inc.

www.tgifridays.com

Corporate Carveout
Management Buyout

Press Releases
07/2014


TGI Fridays, headquartered in Carrollton, Texas, is a global leader in the $85 billion casual dining segment of the restaurant industry, with an iconic, globally recognized, 49-year-old brand and a heritage as the original American bar and grill. The Fridays system comprises more than 900 restaurants in 60 countries, including more than 500 restaurants in the U.S. Fridays boasts the largest international presence of any U.S. casual dining chain, and customers around the world equate the highly recognizable brand with classic American fare and expert service. The Fridays system generates more than $2.6 billion in systemwide sales.

Fridays differentiates itself from other casual dining restaurants through its unique positioning as a “casual dining bar.” The bar-centric concept—to which the social experience of customers is as central as the restaurants’ high-quality food and drinks—is embodied in Fridays’ name and motto: “In Here It’s Always Friday.” Fridays is known for inventing the “happy hour” and introducing Long Island iced tea, potato skins, and Jack Daniels-branded food items to American casual dining.



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Tony Roma Restaurant Holdings, Inc.

www.tonyromas.com

Corporate Carveout
Management Buyout

Press Releases
07/1998


Tony Roma's, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is the franchisor of Tony Roma's restaurants. With 260 restaurants in 25 states and 19 foreign countries, Tony Roma's is the largest national casual dining chain specializing in ribs. The Tony Roma's name and its "Famous for Ribs" and "A Place for Ribs" slogans are familiar throughout the United States, especially in Florida, Texas and California where the majority of restaurants are located. Since Tony Roma's inception in 1972, its baby back ribs have won numerous consumer and industry awards in more than 25 markets.

In 1998, Sentinel acquired a controlling interest in Tony Roma's, a subsidiary of NPC International, Inc., in a recapitalization carveout transaction valued at $109 million. NPC is the largest franchisee in the Pizza Hut system with more than 850 units, and continues to own a minority stake in Tony Roma's. The recapitalization positions Tony Roma's for aggressive growth in the United States and internationally. Sentinel originated, sponsored and negotiated the transaction, arranged the senior debt financing, and provided the private equity financing.

After holding the investment for more than seven years, in March 2006, Sentinel sold Tony Roma's.