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Food Management Partners to acquire Catalina Restaurant Group

Food Management Partners to acquire Catalina Restaurant Group

Zensho America Corp. to divest Coco’s Bakery Restaurant, Carrows brands

Catalina Restaurant Group Inc., parent to the Coco’s Bakery Restaurant and Carrows Restaurants family-dining chains, will be acquired by an affiliate of Food Management Partners, or FMP, the company said Tuesday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close on March 31.

Carlsbad, Calif.-based Catalina, which operates 149 restaurants across the two brands, has been owned for the past nine years by Zensho America Corp., a subsidiary of Zensho Holdings Co. Ltd., a Japan-based multiconcept operator with more than 4,000 restaurants around the world, including the beef-bowl chain Sukiya. Zensho bought the group in 2006.

“After nearly a decade of shepherding the Coco’s and Carrows brands, we are pleased to have found the right owner to begin the next chapter in the CRG story,” said Yasunori Hiraguchi, president of Zensho America, in a statement.

“FMP brings the mix of talent, experience and vision needed to lead the growth of these businesses,” he added. “We are confident Coco’s and Carrows will thrive under FMP’s leadership.”

San Antonio, Texas-based FMP is a multiconcept operator of 118 restaurants in 22 states, including the Zio’s Italian Kitchen, Don Pablo’s and Furr’s Fresh Buffet brands.

FMP acquired Don Pablo’s and Furr’s last year. At the time, company officials said it was building a portfolio of heritage brands.

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

Jason Kemp, co-founder and manager of FMP, said in a statement that the Texas operator was drawn to Coco’s and Carrows for their brand equity.

“Coco’s and Carrows are well-established, beloved brands synonymous with quality,” Kemp said in a statement. “We are excited to welcome them to the FMP family. In looking for restaurant concepts, we focus on identifying brands with strong customer loyalty and an irreplaceable legacy. Coco’s and Carrows fit these criteria perfectly.”

Masahiro Kemmotsu, president of Catalina, added that Coco’s and Carrows look forward to growing under FMP’s direction.

“We believe the best is yet to come for Coco’s and Carrows and we are eager to begin work under FMP,” Kemmotsu said in a statement.

Known for pies, breakfast and comfort food, Coco’s and Carrows are 67-year-old brands, currently operating in California, Nevada and Arizona.

Coco’s, founded in 1948, has 97 corporate locations and 12 franchised units. Carrows has 50 corporate locations and two franchised units.

In 2012, the company launched a test of a new fast-casual concept called Ranch House Café and Grill. The group also includes two of those locations.

In Nation’s Restaurant News’ annual 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.

Moelis & Company LLC and SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. acted as joint exclusive financial advisors to Zensho in the transaction. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP acted as legal advisors.

This story has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: March 17, 2015  An earlier version of this story misstated that U.S.-systemwide sales numbers for Coco's Bakery Restaurant and Carrows Restaurants were reported by the company, as they were actually estimated by NRN Research, and included incorrect unit counts for Coco's and Carrows. Coco's has more than 97 corporate locations and 12 franchised units. Carrows has 50 corporate locations and two franchised units.

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

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