Industry News | September 14, 2007

QSR Exclusive: Q&A with McColl, Richardson

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By Blair Chancey

Why did you choose Bojangles’ over other brands?

Hugh McColl: What appealed to me about Bojangles’ was that they were a very well established brand that was doing well and it was a great opportunity to acquire a controlling interest in the company and to take advantage of the huge opportunity that was there and has been built up through the building of the brand over the last 30 years. So, to me it was just a great business opportunity which was enhanced when I was able to get my good friend Jerry Richardson to come in as part of the ownership group.

Who was the main motivator behind this deal?

Jerry Richardson: Hugh McColl and his group initiated the purchase and he called on me toward the end of the transaction and asked me if I would invest. Our family has been a Bojangles’ franchisee for 26 years in eastern North Carolina. When we started with the founder of the company Jack Fulk the first thing we had to do was know that we could get money to build our restaurants and grow the business and, of course, Hugh financed all of our Bojangles’ through the years and we have 37 now. They’re extremely high volume.

I personally first hand know that the trademark can generate enormous revenue and cash flow and at this stage in my life I wouldn’t have invested in this if it would not have been for Hugh McColl and his group. I don’t need to be trying to get in business with people I don’t know at this stage in my life.

Are you looking at any future acquisitions in the quick-service industry?

McColl: No, not at the time. But we are a very opportunistic group and something might arise, but right now we’re not yet 24 hours into owning Bojangles’ so right now we’re concentrating on the opportunities that lie right here in our backyard with Bojangles’.

Do you plan on making any leadership changes within the company?

McColl : Joe Drury has been the leader at this company and has done a great job turning it around when it was having a difficult time and he has expressed a desire to go and do other things. So I do expect that we will make the change some time in the next week or so, but Joe will stay on the board and retain an owner interest in the brand. We will continue to get the benefit of his council because he knows the business, he’s been running it, and we’re really pleased that we’ve been able to attract him to the board and get him to say.

*Joe Drury has been the company’s CEO since 2001.

Was this plan already in the works before your acquisition?

McColl: I think he told his partners that he had that intention, yes.

Bojangles’ is about to open its first store in Atlanta, the stronghold of Popeyes Chicken & Biscuit, what are you expecting?

Richardson: Popeyes does a tremendous job throughout the southeast and we anticipate that that will be formidable competition for us, but we’ve competed with all of the chicken chains and that would just be business as usual. I’m sure they see it the same way.

Do you think you’ll be expanding in the Atlanta market anytime soon?

Richardson: As Hugh said, we’ve only been involved in this less than 24 hours.

So that answer is yet to be determined?

Richardson: Yes.