roark

Roark Capital Group acquires Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q

Investment gives private-equity group its 20th restaurant brand

Roark Capital Group is buying the 37-unit Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, the company said on Monday, in a deal that gives the Atlanta-based, private-equity group its 20th restaurant brand. 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Jim ‘N Nick’s is a full-service brand that specializes in barbecue and “Southern-inspired cuisine.”

Jim ‘N Nick’s was founded in 1985 in Birmingham by the father-son team of Jim and Nick Pihakis. The full-service brand has locations in seven states, including Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina and Tennessee.

“It was important for us to find a private-equity partner that’s aligned with our commitment to high quality, fresh barbecue and Southern cuisine,” Nick Pihakis said in a statement. “Roark is a highly respected PE firm with a strong track record of investing in restaurant brands to position them for sustainable, long-term growth.”

As part of the deal, Jim ‘N Nick’s chief operating officer Brian Lyman has been promoted to president. Phil Hickey, a 35-year restaurant industry veteran, will become the brand’s chairman. Hickey is a former CEO of RARE Hospitality and he currently is the chairman of Miller’s Ale House, another Roark company.

Jim ‘N Nick’s serves a menu featuring pulled pork, brisket, sausage, ham, turkey, ribs and other items such as sandwiches and salads.

“Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q is highly differentiated, offering authentic, scratch-made cooking to guests choosing to dine in, carry out, drive-thru or cater, and has a tremendous regional following and strong growth potential,” Geoff Hill, principal at Roark, said in a statement. “The food is craveable and is served with wonderful Southern hospitality.”

The deal is Roark’s first restaurant investment since its 2016 acquisition of Jimmy John’s.

The company has invested in 60 franchise and multi-unit brands that collectively generate $24 billion in annual system sales.

Restaurant brands in Roark’s portfolio include Arby’s, Carl’s Jr. and Hardees owner CKE Restaurants, Focus Brands, Corner Bakery and Naf Naf Grill. 

Contact Jonathan Maze at jonathan.maze@penton.com

Follow him on Twitter at @jonathanmaze

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