Foodservice Equipment Reports

Jimmy John’s Sandwiches Joins Up With Roark Capital

Roark Capital Group has acquired a majority stake in Jimmy John’s Sandwiches, adding a big name—and one of the nation’s fastest growing chains—to its growing list of restaurant concepts.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Champaign, Ill., chain’s founder, Jimmy John Liautaud, will remain chairman, and James North will remain president and CEO. As part of the transaction, previous partners Weston Presidio will exit after holding a minority stake for 10 years.

Liautaud founded the chain as a teenager in 1983. The concept grew to about 500 locations when Weston Presidio first invested in the chain. Jimmy John’s now has more than 2,500 locations and $2 billion in system sales. Its franchisees have opened more than 200 locations in each of the past five years, and are on track to open more than 1,000 units over the next several years.

In recent years, Atlanta-based Roark Capital has acquired or invested in companies ranging from established brands CKE Restaurants and Arby’s, as well as the early-stage growth chain Naf Naf Grill. Once the Jimmy John’s deal is completed, Roark Capital will have acquired 56 franchised or multi-unit brands with annual system sales of $23 billion and 25,000 locations in 50 states and 75 countries.

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