Culver’s, a growing franchise with more than 600 family-owned and operated restaurants in 24 states, entered into a business agreement with affiliates of Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity firm, the company announced.
The agreement entails that individual Culver’s shareholders will sell a minority of their stake to affiliates of Roark. The Culver family, the release said, will maintain a majority ownership in the brand, which was founded in 1984 in Sauk City, Wisconsin.
“For many years the Culver family has been discussing ownership succession planning with the desire to remain a family-owned business, stay privately held and proceed with thoughtful estate planning,” said company co-founder and board chairman Craig Culver in a statement. “The sale of a minority interest in the company allows us to do so. We want to make sure we set up the next generation of the Culver’s family and the entire franchised system for success.”
Roark Capital is no stranger to the restaurant industry. Affiliates of the company have acquired 61 franchise/multi-unit brands since its inception, a portfolio that generates about $25 billion in system revenues from 28,000 locations across 50 states and 78 countries. That includes 20 investments in restaurant brands, such as Arby’s, CKE Restaurants, Corner Bakery, FOCUS Brands, Il Fornaio, Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, Jimmy John’s, Miller’s Ale House, Naf Naf Grill, and Wingstop. The company also has investments in specialty retail, health and wellness, retail healthcare, environmental services, business services, and education.
“We have long admired the Culver’s brand and its commitment to culture, quality and service. We are excited to be partnering with the Culver family and management team, and look forward to supporting the brand’s continued success,” Erik Morris, senior managing director at Roark, said in a statement.
“We will continue to operate the business similar to how we do today and are excited to have the ability to tap into Roark’s knowledge base to build and enhance future capabilities as we continue to grow and develop future strategic priorities,” added Joseph Koss, president and chief executive officer. “This partnership will complement the long term growth of the franchise community and CFSI as a whole.”
Roark will now have representation on Culver’s board of directors, with Culver continuing to serve as chairman of the board. Koss and the management team will remain in their current roles, the release said. Additionally, there are no plans to sell more shares.