Newk’s Holding Company announced that Sentinel Capital Partners, a New York–based private equity firm, has made a significant capital investment in the Newk’s Eatery fast-casual brand and assumed ownership interest in the company. Newk’s Holding Company, with 67 franchised and company-owned restaurants across 13 states, is scheduled to open 15 locations this year and reach 200 total restaurants by 2019, a goal that will further bolster the company’s position among Technomic’s 50 top fast-casual chain restaurants nationwide.
“Newk’s Eatery is growing into a top-performing middle market franchise restaurant brand,” says James Coady, a Sentinel partner. “The growth trajectory of Newk’s business and the fact that many franchisees are experiencing double-digit year-over-year growth is testament to the strength of their fresh restaurant concept and its profitability.”
Newk’s Eatery recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of its first location, a locally owned sandwich shop in the college town of Oxford, Mississippi. The original restaurant concept, which serves up hand-tossed salads, oven-baked sandwiches, California-style pizzas, and made-from-scratch soups, is the vision of company president Chris Newcomb. Newcomb founded Newk’s Eatery with his father, Oxford dentist Dr. Don Newcomb and family friend Debra Bryson, a trio that successfully built the McAlister’s Deli brand 25 years ago before selling it to investors. Chris Newcomb will remain Newk’s president and CEO and, along with the company’s seasoned leadership team, will oversee brand penetration into new and established markets.
Newk’s menu of culinary-inspired dishes is prepared in an open kitchen and served tableside in a family-friendly, upscale, Tuscan-inspired dining room. The concept is centered around the Newk’s Roundtable, which is featured in the center of every restaurant and offers complimentary toppings and add-ons, such as imported capers, Italian breadsticks, roasted garlic, crisp jalapeno peppers, and more.
“We are excited about the support of Sentinel’s solid investment base and are energized by the shared vision that will help us realize Newk’s potential,” Newcomb says.
The principals of Arlington Capital Advisors facilitated Sentinel’s investment on behalf of Newk’s Holding Company. Arlington’s principals, acting as registered securities agents of M&A Securities Group Inc., were the exclusive financial advisors to Newk’s and its shareholders on the transaction.
The acquisition of Newk’s Eatery is Sentinel’s eighth in the restaurant sector and 10th in the franchise sector. Sentinel, with $2.6 billion of equity capital under management, has invested in numerous franchise businesses, including Checkers, Huddle House, and Massage Envy.