Hargett Hunter Capital Partners, a North Carolina-based private investment firm focused exclusively on the hospitality industry, announced that that it has acquired a majority stake in Ruggles Green of Houston. Financial terms of the investment were not disclosed.
Founded in 2008, Ruggles Green is a premium fast-casual restaurant concept offering chef-inspired entrees, sandwiches, salads, burgers, pizza and pasta that incorporate local, often times organic, and seasonal items. With five current locations in the greater Houston area, Ruggles Green is a leader in providing extensive and high-quality vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free alternatives. As the first Certified Green Restaurant in Houston, Ruggles Green maintains an eco-friendly focus and a commitment to sustainability and the environment as evidenced by the certification of its CITYCENTRE restaurant as “The Greenest Restaurant in Texas.”
Hargett Hunter’s founder Jeff Brock says, “Ruggles Green is one of the most balanced and high performing ‘small-box casual’ concepts that we have encountered across the United States. The concept is exceptionally differentiated not only through the quality and breadth of its menu, but also through its resonance with guests with different dietary needs and sensitivities, and its unique position as environmentally friendly and sustainable.”
Hargett Hunter’s Jason Morgan adds, “We couldn’t be more proud of the team that we are inheriting and the first class experiences they provide to all of our loyal guests. We are excited to expand that team and grow with them as we introduce Ruggles Green to even more guests in the Houston area and beyond.”
“Our relationship with Jeff Brock goes back almost four years. When we began seeking potential investors, it was only natural to seek an investment from Hargett Hunter,” says co-founder Federico Marques. “Once we met Jason [Morgan], we knew that the Hargett Hunter team also possessed the operational expertise to execute at the level of excellence that we envision for Ruggles Green’s future.”
Morgan was the Chief Financial Officer of Zoe’s Kitchen from 2008 to 2015 and will step into the role of Chief Executive Officer for Ruggles Green.
This transaction marks the second investment by Hargett Hunter, after the July acquisition of a majority stake in the Original ChopShop Co., a Phoenix-based fast casual concept. Morgan adds, “As another strong brand whose exceptional food and guest experience have already inspired a passionate following, Ruggles Green provides a perfect complement to our investment at Original ChopShop Co. We are thrilled to be involved with these two fundamental building blocks for our portfolio, and we look forward to the growth of these concepts and the future expansion of our portfolio with other best-in-class concepts.”
Co-founder Robert Guillerman says, “The Ruggles Green team could not be more excited about the new energy and enthusiasm that the Hargett Hunter team brings to the organization.”
Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP and Martin Frost & Hill provided legal counsel to Hargett Hunter. Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP provided financial and accounting services to Hargett Hunter. Additional diligence services were provided by Bergemont Location Science & Strategy in Boston, Massachusetts and by LJR Hospitality Ventures in Dallas.