Dunkin’ and Sonic Drive-In parent company Inspire Brands announced Monday the sale of fast-casual brand Rusty Taco to Californian private investment firm Gala Capital Partners. The terms and price of the brand’s acquisition were not disclosed, though the Rusty Taco management team, including president Brendan Mauri, invested in the acquisition and will also stay onboard as part of the team.
Inspire Brands initially acquired a controlling interest in Rusty Taco in 2018 as part of its purchase of Buffalo Wild Wings and grew the brand 50% over the past four years.
“Inspire’s tightly integrated shared services model is optimized for brands at scale, and all our scaled brands have ample runway for continued growth,” Christian Charnaux, chief growth officer with Inspire Brands said in a statement. “Therefore, we concluded that an owner focused on emerging brands would be the best partner for Rusty Taco’s next chapter of growth. After a thorough vetting process, we believe that GCP is precisely that partner, and we will be cheering on the brand’s continued success.”
The new owners of Rusty Taco, Gala Capital, invests in or acquires mid-sized restaurant brands past the proof-of-concept phase with 25-500 units, including include Dunn Brothers Coffee, Cicis Pizza and MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes—investments that were all announced over the past five years, with the latest being Dunn Brothers Coffee, which was announced earlier this year.
“We couldn’t be more positive about bringing Rusty Taco into the GCP portfolio. While the future looks bright, we also know that there’s fantastic opportunity right now for the brand,” Anand Gala, founder of Gala Capital, said in a statement. “Rusty Taco offers competitive unit-level economics and investment returns, has manageable operations, and is in a dining segment that is on-trend, growing, and lacks strong competition. As a result, Rusty Taco will be a strong addition to the portfolio."
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