Moats, private-equity firm buy Dick’s Last Resort

NASHVILLE Tenn. Triton Pacific Capital Partners and Logan’s Roadhouse co-founder Ted Moats have acquired the seven-unit dining-and-entertainment concept Dick’s Last Resort, officials said Thursday.

Terms of the deal, which closed Dec. 28, were not disclosed.

Dick’s Last Resort parent DLR Restaurants LLC was previously owned by Dallas entrepreneur Steve Schiff, who sold 100 percent of his interest to Triton, a Los Angeles-based private-equity firm, and a management team headed by Moats. Known for its wise-cracking staff, casual-dining menu and live music, the Dick’s Last Resort chain includes six corporate units and one licensed restaurant, with high-volume locations in Dallas, San Antonio, San Diego, Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas and Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Moats, who holds the largest stake after Triton, was named chief executive of the company, and corporate headquarters will be moved to Nashville, Tenn., where Moats is based.

Alongtime industry veteran, Moats is known for developing the Logan’s Roadhouse concept in the 1990s, which he sold in 1998 to Cracker Barrel parent CBRL Group Inc. Later, Moats was president and chief executive of H&C Racing Inc., which operated the stock-car-racing themed Nascar Cafe in several markets.

Craig Faggen, Triton managing partner, said Moats approached the private-equity firm with the idea of acquiring Dick’s Last Resort. It is the firm’s first restaurant investment.

Faggen said he was impressed that Dick’s Last Resort’s same-store sales were up slightly in 2008, despite economic challenges that have negatively impacted the restaurant industry as a whole.

The company plans to open between one and three new Dick’s Last Resort locations each year, choosing only high-volume, prime locations.

The soft economy could help growth efforts, Faggen added.

“We have been very impressed with the management and the underlying business model of the company,” he said. “There is a counter cyclical growth opportunity in casual dining to expand into leases vacated by weaker brands, and Dick’s unique model is well positioned to take advantage of such situations.”