Dollarhyde, Brentwood buy into Zoe’s Kitchen

Birmingham Ala. Zoe’s Kitchen USA LLC, operator or franchisor of 19 fast-casual chicken restaurants, has snared an investment by Brentwood Associates, a private equity firm based in Los Angeles.

Industry veteran Greg Dollarhyde has also invested in Zoe’s and will serve on the board, Zoe’s said in an announcement released Monday morning.

Terms of the investments were not disclosed.

Dollarhyde is currently executive chairman of Pacific Island Restaurants Inc., a 93-unit Pizza Hut and Taco Bell franchisee in Hawaii, Guam and Saipan. He was formerly president and chief executive of Fresh Enterprises Inc., the holding company of Baja Fresh. Along with his partners, Dollarhyde sold the fast-casual Mexican chain to Wendy’s International Inc. in 2002 for more than $275 million. Wendy’s sold the brand last year for about $31 million to West Coast entrepreneur David Kim.

Zoe’s Kitchen, based here, operates 16 units and franchises three locations in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas.

Brentwood is an investor in Pacific Island Restaurants, according to the equity firm’s website. Its portfolio also includes stakes in the Paper Source retail chain and Spectrum Athletic Clubs.

John Cassimus, president and chief executive of Zoe’s Kitchen, said, he looked “forward to the experience, strategic input and financial resources of my new partners as we continue to rapidly grow Zoe’s in the Southeast and beyond.”

Marcus and Zoë Cassimus started Zoe’s Kitchen in 1995, and it now features such items as a chicken roll-up, chicken salad sandwiches and a grilled-turkey “Gruben.”