Consumers are eating out less and cooking more at home. The trend is hurting restaurant sales while driving up interest in purveyors of frozen food. The MillerPulse restaurant index reported a 1.5 percent same-store sales decline in January 2016. Strategic buyers, including Bob Evans, B&G and Dean Foods, have been turning their attention to frozen food manufacturers.
Bob Evans Farms Inc. (Nasdaq: BOBE) said in January that it will sell its 522 full-service restaurants to Golden Gate Capital for $565 million, plus debt. The move will allow Bob Evans to focus on its BEF Foods packaged foods business, which makes breakfast sausages and macaroni and cheese under the Bob Evans and Owens brands.