Taco Bell Corp. announced the sale of 18 company-owned restaurants Wednesday, signaling the end of its refranchising efforts in the greater New Orleans area.
Southeast Restaurant Group (SRG), an operator with a 32-store portfolio before the deal, purchased the market’s last company-owned stores.
The franchisee now holds 25 total Taco Bell locations and is one of two operators that control all of the brand’s restaurants in and around New Orleans. SRG previously purchased eight nearby restaurants from the Mexican quick-service brand in 2016.
A spokesman for SRG said a condition of the sale was a commitment by the franchisee to open more Taco Bell stores in southern Louisiana, though he declined to disclose the number of upcoming restaurants agreed to or when the first one would open its doors.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, financing for the acquisition was provided by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Neither Taco Bell, nor its parent, Yum! Brands Inc., immediately responded to requests for comment on the deal.
With the remainder of SRG’s portfolio spread throughout the Southeastern U.S. — including 20 TGI Fridays locations — the franchisee will operate a total of 50 restaurants after the Taco Bell deal.
There are currently 7,000 Taco Bell locations throughout the U.S. The company is based in Irvine, Calif.
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