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New Owners Coming for Tilted Kilt


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Tilted Kilt is getting new owners, but don't expect its skimpy uniforms to change.

Sports bar franchise Tilted Kilt is about to have new owners following the announcement of an acquisition by ARC Group. ARC, the owner, operator and franchisor of Dick's Wings & Grill, is set to purchase Tempe, Arizona-based Tilted Kilt, with plans to lay out a refined strategy and action plan for the brand over the next 60 to 90 days.

Led by CEO Richard Akam, ARC Group will acquire Tilted Kilt’s 47 units, a number that’s down from the roughly 100 locations it had in 2016. Known for its servers dressed in skimpy Celtic outfits, the concept is also rooted in sports viewing with pubs featuring dozens of TVs and 30-plus beers on the menu.

ARC Group, which formed in April 2000 to develop the Dick’s Wings & Grill concept, and the owners of Tilted Kilt are in the midst of executing agreements for the sale of Tilted Kilt to SDA Holdings, LLC, a company owned by Fred W. Alexander, who is a member of the board of directors of ARC Group. ARC Group intends to enter into an agreement with SDA Holdings within the next couple of weeks to acquire Tilted Kilt from SDA Holdings, the company said.

“Clearly the Titled Kilt brand is well recognized and an original pacesetter in the category,” said Ketan Pandya, VP of franchise relations for ARC, in a news release. “We are looking forward to amplifying our strengths throughout the franchise system and a return to delivering great customer experiences.”

Former Tilted Kilt President Ron Lynch, who’s led the brand since 2005 when it had three restaurants, will continue on as a consultant to the company over the next year.

“ARC Group recognizes the unlocked potential of the Tilted Kilt brand and has already begun phase one of their turn-around plan,” said Lynch. “Teams within ARC Group are meeting with franchisees, vendors, partners, and industry insiders” to bring focus to operational challenges, and formulate new growth plans.

“We are confident their industry knowledge will help lead Tilted Kilt to success,” said Lynch.

In 2016 Tilted Kilt rolled out a new prototype aimed at lessening the kitschy décor and reintroducing games, including pools tables, shuffleboards and dart boards. A new lunch menu brought some healthier options and smaller portions, and the company also tried out a bacon bar, selling bacon by the slice.

At the time, Lynch told Franchise Times, “We’re kind of suffering a little bit of what is happening in full-service dining. We’re down like 4 percent in the last two years, which is kind of what the sector is doing.” He added: “The fast-casual guys are beating us a little bit.”

Based in Jacksonville, Florida, ARC Group has 20 Dick’s Wings locations, 15 in Florida and five in Georgia.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is editor-in-chief of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is managing editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
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