After an abundance of successful business ventures, David Lobel founded Sentinel Capital Partners, a private equity firm that specializes in buying and building middle-market companies in the U.S. and Canada. Along with other prosperous investments, Lobel and senior partner and cofounder John McCormack have made their mark in the quick-serve industry. With past investments touching brands like Taco Bell and Church’s Chicken, Sentinel and portfolio company Southern California Pizza own 224 Pizza Hut restaurants in the Los Angeles area—the third-largest franchisee in the Pizza Hut system.
Back in mid-2002, optimism reigned at Tricon Global Restaurants, the predecessor to Yum! Brands.
The Louisville, Kentucky–based company had just purchased nearly 1,000 A&W restaurants and 1,200 Long John Silver’s units for $320 million, convinced that the recognizable names and multibranding possibilities could raise average unit volumes as much as 30 percent and produce upward of $5 billion in incremental system sales alongside nearly $1 billion in additional shareholder value.
But the promise never came true.
Taco Bell launched the world’s largest free taco offer on Facebook by offering each of its fans with a free Crunchy Seasoned Beef Taco.
The online offer is only available to Facebook members who “Like” the Taco Bell page, allowing each fan access to print the coupon.
“Throughout the beef class action lawsuit, the response and enthusiasm from our Facebook community has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Greg Creed, CEO. “We found it only fitting to reward these 5.4 million fans and a friend with a free taco. It’s our way of saying thanks for their loyalty and support.”
Twenty- or 30-odd years ago, before society as a whole was fully attuned to the hazards—physical and moral—of allowing kids to eat pretty much whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, product development was a relative snap.
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Reporting by Blair Chancey, Sam Oches, Daniel P. Smith, Robin Van Tan, Barney Wolf & Lori Zanteson
1. BK Sold to Brazilian Investors
Becoming the decade’s biggest restaurant buyout, No. 3 burger chain Burger King Corp. was acquired by 3G Capital, a New York firm backed by Brazilian investors, for $3.3 billion in September. —BC
2. The Food Truck Obsession
Matt Loney isn’t taking anything for granted or ignoring any competitor. He insists he knows better, a product of an early professional education on the restaurant industry’s ebbs and flows.
The youthful president of Stevi B’s, an Atlanta-based pizza-buffet franchise that has earned acclaim for its specialty pizzas, Loney has witnessed grocery stores gain a larger slice of the restaurant pizzeria world’s business.
Nine of 10 brands studied by American Customer Satisfaction Index show an increase in satisfaction between 2009 and 2010.