Inspire Brands Sells Rusty Taco to Cicis Pizza Owner  

Rusty Taco Gala Capital Partners Inspire Brands 1200x800 1
Gala Capital Partners, a private investment firm focused on emerging restaurant franchise brands, is the new owner of Rusty Taco. Courtesy of Rusty Taco.

Dunkin’ and Jimmy John’s parent Inspire Brands announced today it sold fast-casual concept Rusty Taco to Gala Capital Partners, a California investment firm focused on emerging restaurant franchise brands.

Inspire Brands acquired a majority interest in Rusty Taco as part of the purchase of Buffalo Wild Wings in 2018 and has grown the system by over 50%, according to the company. With a shared services model optimized for brands at scale—and all its scaled brands having “ample runway for continued growth”—Inspire said it concluded that “an owner focused on emerging brands would be the best partner for Rusty Taco’s next chapter of growth.”

Gala Capital Partners focuses on acquiring past-proof-of-concept restaurant brands between 25 and 500 units with strong growth potential.

“We couldn’t be more positive about bringing Rusty Taco into the GCP portfolio. While the future looks bright, we also know that there’s fantastic opportunity right now for the brand,” says Anand Gala, founder and managing partner of Gala Capital Partners, in a press release. “Rusty Taco offers competitive unit-level economics and investment returns, has manageable operations and is in a dining segment that is on-trend, growing and lacks strong competition. As a result, Rusty Taco will be a strong addition to the portfolio.”

The transaction follows Gala Capital Partners’ acquisition of 60-unit Dunn Brothers Coffee earlier this year. Other acquisitions include 300-unit Cicis Pizza in 2021 and 100-unit Mooyah Burgers, Fries and Shakes in 2017.

Rusty Taco’s management team, led by Brendan Mauri, will continue with the brand and has co-invested in the acquisition.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.


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