Industry News | July 25, 2011 | QSR Exclusive Brief

Bojangles' Sold, But Don't Expect Any Big Changes

Bojangles’ announced today that it has been acquired by a Boston-based global private equity firm, but one company executive says things will remain business as usual for the Southeast chicken-and-biscuits brand.

Eric Newman, executive vice president and general counsel for Bojangles’, says the acquisition by Advent International won’t slow the chain’s growth, which has accelerated over the last few years.

“We like them a lot and we think it’s going to add resources to what we do,” Newman says. “I think their strategies are going to match very well with what we’re doing.”

Advent International is acquiring the ownership stake in Bojangles’ Restaurants Inc. from Falfurrias Capital Partners, a Charlotte, North Carolina–based private equity firm that acquired the restaurant company in September 2007. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Newman says Falfurrias Capital Partners has been searching for a Bojangles’ buyer since last year, and that Advent International’s experience with retail brands such as Five Below and Lululemon Athletica appealed to them.

“They have history with extensive holdings, both in the United States and globally,” he says. “They’ve been very successful in working with targeting and working with strong regional retail brands … and then working with management and working with those companies to expand them and grow them out.”

Bojangles’ recently opened its 500th unit, and added more than 100 net units in the last four years. It has also grown to nearly $800 million in system-wide sales.

“We’re coming into the transaction with an excellent record both qualitatively and quantitatively, and I think [Advent International has] told us this is part of what attracted them to us,” Newman says.

He says that despite Advent International’s Boston base, Bojangles’ headquarters will not be leaving Charlotte, the city in which it was founded 35 years ago. Management will also remain the same, he says.

“They recognize our regional strength, they recognize our extraordinarily loyal consumer base in the Carolinas and in the Southeast, and they recognize who we are,” Newman says. “I don’t think there will be one bit of difference having an investment fund that has their offices in Boston as opposed to anywhere else.”

Newman says the northern owner will probably not encourage brand expansion into the Northeast, either. Instead, the focus will remain on Bojangles’ core markets of Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi, he says.

“Rather than try to pull us toward a northerly base, I think what they will do is take the more obvious strategy and … continue to develop across the Southeast,” he says. “The future will tell whether we step further than that outside the Southeast.”

By Sam Oches