Foodservice Equipment Reports

Wendy’s To Sell Arby’s To Roark

When it comes to high-profile, multi-chain ownership, there’s a new kid on the block. Atlanta-based Roark Group has signed a definitive agreement to purchase a majority stake in Arby’s from Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, the third largest fast-food company in the United States.

Wendy’s will retain an 18.5% ownership of Arby’s. The majority sale to Roark gives the private equity firm ownership of 3,600 Arby’s stores. Roland Smith, president and CEO of Wendy's/Arby's Group, said the $430 million transaction allows the company to devote full attention and resources on Wendy's. “These opportunities,” he said, “include revitalization of our core menu, expanding breakfast, modernizing our facilities, building new restaurants in the United States and pursuing global expansion.”

In a separate announcement, Roark’s affiliates have acquired Il Fornaio (America) Corp., owner of Corner Bakery Cafe and Il Fornaio Restaurants and Bakeries. The 20-year-old Corner Bakery chain, based in Dallas, has 119 locations nationwide. Il Fornaio, founded in Italy and based in Corte Madera, Calif., owns and operates 22 full-service Italian restaurants in California and in Colorado, Nevada, Virginia and Washington. Corner Bakery was founded in 1991 by Chicago-based Lettuce Entertain You. It was sold with Maggiano’s Little Italy to Brinker Int’l and then spun off in 2005 to Il Fornaio’s CBC Restaurant Corp. subsidiary.

The chains put Roark's restaurant investments in the double digits; its portfolio includes Focus Brands, parent company of Carvel Ice Cream, Cinnabon, Schlotzsky's, Moe's Southwest Grill, and Auntie Anne's Pretzels as well as McAlister's Deli and Wingstop, which are not affiliated with Focus Brands. 

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