Falfurrias Capital Partners, majority owner of the Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits chain, said Monday it has agreed to sell the chain to global private-equity firm Advent International.
Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in August and includes some participation by the restaurant chain’s management, were not released. Charlotte, N.C.-based Falfurrias acquired Bojangles’ Restaurants Inc. in 2007.
Known for its Cajun-style fried chicken and made-from-scratch biscuits, with breakfast served all day, the 503-unit Bojangles’ brand has become one of the most rapidly growing drive thru quick-service chicken chains.
“The Bojangles’ brand, its success in all three dayparts, and its strong core markets in North and South Carolina have made it one of the most promising restaurant concepts out there,” Andrew Crawford, principal at Advent, said in a statement. “We intend to build on these foundations to fulfill Bojangles’ significant potential.”
With an average check of $5.54 per transaction, Bojangles’ has seen systemwide same-store sales remain positive over the past five years, despite the recession. Same-store sales have increased on average about 3 percent per year over year the past five years.
Eric Newman, Bojangles’ executive vice president, said the chain has benefited from its strong breakfast sales, which is a growing segment, as well as its three-daypart strategy and unique flavor profile.
Newman said Advent has indicated that they intend to keep the management team intact.
“Qualitatively and quantitatively they’re acquiring something with great momentum and a history of success over the past five years, and they want to build on that,” he said.
Past investments by Advent in North America include yoga retailer Lululemon Athletica, party goods supplier Amscan/Party City, airport retailer Hudson News and pre-teen value retail brand Five Below.
If completed as planned, the Bojangles’ acquisition would be the first domestic restaurant brand investment for Advent.
Since Falfurrias acquired the chain in 2007, Bojangles’ systemwide sales have increased more than 40 percent to a projected $800 million in 2011. The chain’s number of restaurants increased 33 percent to 503 units, from 377 locations in 2007, according to Falfurrias.
The firm announced earlier this year that it was exploring an acquisition to bring in a new financial partner and provide liquidity to shareholders.
Marc Oken, co-founder and managing partner of Falfurrias Capital Partners, said in a statement, “As a partner in Bojangles’ growth and success, we are extremely proud of the industry-leading performance the Bojangles’ management team has achieved in the face of a difficult economic environment.
“The excellent opportunity that our ownership group saw in Bojangles’ when we invested in the company has been borne out by the outstanding results the company has achieved over the last four years,” he added.
Bojangles’ is about one-third company-owned and the rest franchised, Newman said. Currently the chain is in 10 states and the District of Columbia, with most locations concentrated in the Carolinas. Newman said the plan is to build out existing markets.
About 40 new restaurants, both company and franchise owned, are expected to open in 2011 – a rate of about one store every nine days through the end of the year.