Foodservice Equipment Reports

Sun Capital Buys Johnny Rockets, May Be Selling Captain D’s

Southern California burger chain Johnny Rockets has a new owner. Captain D’s Seafood Kitchen might soon, too.

Sun Capital Partners, the parent company of Captain D’s, has acquired the 300-outlet Johnny Rockets; in the meantime, unconfirmed news reports circulate that the Boca Raton, Fla., private equity firm is putting Captain D’s Seafood Kitchen up for sale. Sun Capital acquired the 520-unit seafood QSR chain in 2010 and had been orchestrating a turnaround, refreshing its restaurant design and upgrading its menu.

Johnny Rockets was acquired by Sun Capital from Red Zone Capital Management, which bought the Aliso Viejo, Calif., chain in 2007. The 1950s-style diner has restaurants in 30 states and 16 countries. About 90% of the company’s units are franchisee-owned. Over the next 12 months, Johnny Rockets plans to open 60 new restaurants, including 40 outside of the United States. The company already has units in countries including Kuwait, Russia and the Philippines; new international markets are likely to include India and Brazil.

Sun Capital owns several other restaurant chains, including Boston Market, Fazoli’s, Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill and Bar Louie.