Roark Capital Group acquired a majority stake in restaurant chain Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q. The deal follows up Roark's 2016 investment in sandwich shop Jimmy John’s Sandwiches.
Jim 'Nicks was founded in 1985 by father and son team Jim and Nick Pihakis. The Birmingham, Alabama-based target operates 37 eateries across Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The chain is known for cheese biscuits, but also offers traditional Southern style barbecue, such as Carolina-style pork.
“It was important for us to find a private equity partner that is aligned with our commitment to high quality, fresh barbecue and Southern cuisine,” says Nick Pihakis.
Atlanta-based Roark has a track record for acquiring restaurant brands. Some of the firm's other sector investments include: Auntie Anne's, Carvel, Cinnabon and Moe's Southwest Grill.
PE firms have been going after restaurants that have a regional focus. For instance, General Atlantic made a minority growth investment in Barteca Holdings; Golden Gate Capital bought Bob Evans Restaurants from Bob Evans Farms Inc. (Nasdaq: BOBE); and Larsen MacColl Partners backed Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar.