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Tasti D-Lite buys Planet Smoothie

Frozen dessert chain Tasti D-Lite said Thursday it has purchased Planet Smoothie LLC, the 110-unit smoothie and snack chain, from Petrus Brands in Atlanta.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Petrus also operates Shane’s Rib Shack, a fast-casual barbecue concept with about 70 units.

The 60-unit Tasti D-Lite, which is owned by New York-based private equity firm Snow Phipps Group LLC, said its acquisition of Planet Smoothie is expected to broaden the menu offerings of both brands, increase sales and step up unit growth through dual-branding initiatives and nontraditional expansion.

Jim Amos, chief executive of Franklin, Tenn.-based Tasti D-Lite, said in a statement that both chains target similar health-conscious consumers, “so combining the two complementary brands will provide both brands an opportunity to increase the scale of the combined store network as well as sales at the store level.”

Amos, who also is an operating partner with Snow Phipps, told Nation’s Restaurant News that the two brands offer each other operational efficiencies and some strong synergies.

“We have been scanning the landscape for the past two or three years for a strategic acquisition that would be complementary and not competitive,” he said. “We wanted the ability to cross-pollinate the brands.”

He said that over the next several months Planet Smoothie items would be made available to Tasti D-Lite stores, while the yogurt chain’s core frozen dessert items would be marketed in Planet Smoothie outlets through self-service machines.

“By adding a product line that enhances Planet Smoothie’s menu, we are adding a new component that broadens the offering to the consumer,” he said.

The purchase marks Tasti D-Lite’s latest effort to accelerate growth. Earlier this year the chain debuted its first drive-thru location in Columbia, Mo., and opened its first on-campus store at Duke University.

It also introduced a self-service option to its full-service model.

In addition, Amos said, the acquisition of Planet Smoothie presents “zero geographical conflicts. Tasti D-Lite is primarily located in the Northeast while Planet Smoothie is mostly in the Southwest — in Georgia and Florida.”

He noted that Tasti D-Lite is “robust in international markets.”

“Combining these brands will add value for our franchisees, which in turn will allow us to accelerate the growth of our store network,” Amos said.

Amos said Tasti D-Lite has current commitments to open more than 500 locations in the United States and in international markets. “In five to 10 years we could have anywhere from 800 to 1,000 units,” he said.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story has been updated to include comments from Tasti D-Lite.

Contact Paul Frumkin at [email protected].

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