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Underperforming Coco’s and Carrows restaurants shuttered

Underperforming Coco’s and Carrows restaurants shuttered

New owner Food Management Partners says closures necessary for sustainability

An undisclosed number of Coco’s Bakery and Carrows restaurants closed this week, as the acquisition of the two family-dining concepts by Food Management Partners was completed, the company said Thursday.

Rumors of layoffs and restaurant closures began to circulate on Wednesday, and FMP officials confirmed Thursday in a statement that restaurant closings are part of the company’s plan, but they did not confirm the number of units impacted or any other details.

UPDATE: Coco’s, Carrows closures leave thousands unemployed

“The current market climate has forced us to make difficult decisions about many of our restaurants that are not performing at a competitive financial level. After extensive review, we have developed a plan that we believe will enable the parent company of Coco’s and Carrows, Catalina Restaurant Group, to make the two brands stronger than ever at both the company and franchise level,” said Peter Donbavand, vice president of business development for Catalina Restaurant Group, in a statement. “Unfortunately, this roadmap to sustainability may include restaurant closings.”

“These are tough choices,” the statement continued. “We value our employees immensely and are mindful of the impact changes like this may have on them and their families. We will work with employees to make sure they are aware of the opportunities at our restaurants that will continue to operate.”

Last month, San Antonio, Texas-based Food Management Partners said it would acquire Carlsbad, Calif.-based Catalina Restaurant Group Inc., parent of the Coco’s and Carrows concepts, from Zensho America Corp. Terms were not disclosed, but the deal was scheduled to close on March 31.

When the acquisition was announced in March, Catalina operated 149 restaurants across the two brands. Coco’s included 97 company locations and 12 franchised units. Carrows had 50 company units and two franchised locations.

Catalina also operated two locations of the newer fast-casual Ranch House Café and Grill concept.

According to Nation’s Restaurant News’ Second 100 census, Coco’s had estimated U.S. systemwide sales of $141.5 million for fiscal 2013, a decrease of nearly 2 percent from the previous year. The chain had 113 units at the end of the year.

Carrows had estimated domestic systemwide sales of $55.2 million, a decrease of nearly 5 percent from the previous year. The chain had 58 units at the end of the year.

FMP is the multiconcept operator of 118 restaurants, including the Zio’s Italian Kitchen, Don Pablo’s and Furr’s Fresh Buffet brands.

The company is also one of Buffalo Wild Wings’ largest franchise operators, and FMP also owns the Dynamic Foods manufacturing and distribution facility.

In the statement, FMP expressed optimism for the future of both Coco’s and Carrows.

“At Coco’s Bakery and Carrows Restaurants, we’re proud of the delicious food, fair prices and friendly service that have made us staples of the American West and Southwest for more than 60 years,” the statement said. “We’re dedicated to serving the region for generations to come.”

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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