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Inspire Brands CEO Paul Brown

Inspire Brands CEO Paul Brown accomplishes historic acquisition

Meet the innovative, inclusive and industry changing leaders of the 2021 NRN Power List

One of the biggest restaurant industry headlines of 2020 was Inspire Brands’ December acquisition of Dunkin’ Brands, including both the Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins brands. The $11.3 billion deal — first announced in October — was one of the largest acquisitions in restaurant industry history and was spearheaded under the ambitious executive leadership of Inspire Brands CEO Paul Brown.

With the acquisition, Roark Capital Group-backed Inspire Brands became the second-largest foodservice company in the U.S. by locations and sales, totaling nearly 32,000 restaurants in 60 countries globally, with $26 billion in sales.

“We are very excited to welcome the Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins brands into the Inspire family. Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins are category leaders and two of the most iconic restaurant brands in the world,” said Brown, cofounder and CEO of Inspire Brands, in a statement at the time of the deal closure. “This is an incredible moment in our journey as a company.”

Previously the CEO of Arby’s Restaurant Group, which changed its name to Inspire Brands in February 2018 following the $2.9 billion acquisition of Buffalo Wild Wings and Rusty Taco, and later Sonic, Brown has been in growth mode ever since. In October 2019, the company acquired Jimmy John’s Sandwiches, followed by the Dunkin’ Brands acquisition the year after.


With the acquisition of Dunkin’ Brands Inspire Brands entered a new daypart (breakfast), which will make them more competitive as they diversify their portfolio.

Analysts believe that Brown’s move was a strong one and will bode well for 2021 and beyond as Inspire will take advantage of Dunkin’s technological investments, including their mobile and drive-thru-forward Next Generation stores, which were introduced in 2018, and more recently, their test of an Amazon Go-style no-checkout store in September.

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Contact Joanna at [email protected]

Find her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi

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