Dunn Brothers Coffee, a 59-unit franchise, announced it was acquired by Cicis owner Gala Capital Partners.
Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
The concept began in 1987 when siblings Ed and Dan Dunn brought their roastery talents from Portland, Oregon, to St. Paul, Minnesota. In the 35 years since then, the company has expanded into Wisconsin, North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Texas, and Missouri, although the footprint has slipped in recent years. At the start of 2019, Dunn Brothers had 78 stores, meaning it’s lost a net of 19 units in the past three and a half years.
The product—which comes from one origin—is roasted each day in front of customers and is never more than five days old. Dunn Brothers also sells coffee beverages and beans by the pound, frozen drinks, baked goods, soups, salads, pizza, wraps, and sandwiches. Because of the menu composition, the brand lists Starbucks, independent specialty coffee retailers, Dunkin’, and Panera as its main competitors.
Most locations are endcap and 1,600–1,900-square-feet in size. Drive-thru is viewed as a necessity for franchisees, unless the store is based in an urban area, or one with a higher level of foot traffic.
Brand president Kim Plahn said Gala Capital will provide capital and the necessary experience to improve and expand franchise operations.
“Gala Capital Partners aims to add value through their multi-concept portfolio, applying their deep experience as both a franchisee/operator as well as the franchisor,” Plahn said in a statement. “Having been both a franchisee and a franchisor, they understand what makes for a strong, collaborative, and profitable business for both. We’re excited for the opportunity to continue to build the Dunn Brothers brand with them.”
In addition to Cicis, Gala Capital owns Texas-based fast casual MOOYAH Burgers and recently made a growth investment in the seven-unit Dillas Quesadillas. The private equity firm is also one of the biggest franchise groups for Famous Dave’s.
“We believe Dunn Brothers is the best-kept secret in the coffee segment and we look forward to working with the management team and franchise partners to bring this great product and brand to the rest of the world,” Anand Gala, founder and managing partner of Gala Capital, said in a statement.