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Art of the deal panel to highlight FFGC


Susan Beth

It’s not news to Susan Beth, COO of NRD Capital, that plenty of people questioned why the Atlanta-based private equity firm purchased Ruby Tuesday. When the $335-million take-private deal was announced last year, Beth said, all of her colleagues called and wondered why—they told her they hadn’t even bothered to look at the book promoting the deal.

She will talk about the ins and outs of that deal, along with two other award winners in the Franchise Times Dealmakers project, at the Franchise Finance & Growth Conference, May 7-9 at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. The conference features lenders, private equity investors, dealmakers, multi-unit operators and more than 45 C-level executives of franchise brands, discussing their growth plans and financial performance.

C-level executives presenting at the conference will host short question-and-answer sessions following their talks in private rooms, so conference attendees can make introductions, gain contact information and learn more. Financiers and lenders will be available to meet with operators, franchisors and others at the annual conference presented by Franchise Times.

Andy Wiederhorn, CEO of FAT Brands and winner of the Franchise Times Deal of the Year, will also speak on the Art of the Deal panel, describing how he overcame dark days in his past to return to the public markets with a so-called mini-IPO, the first of its kind in the franchise space. “Most people shouldn’t be entrepreneurs. Why put yourself through it?” he told Franchise Times. “Having the tenacity to dig through it—the alternative is not attractive.”

Raj Patel, the son half of the father-son duo who own The Hari Group in Chicago, will describe how they took the lead for seven different buyer groups that bought 67 Dunkin’ Donuts owned by a single franchisee, the largest such deal in Dunkin’ history. “At the end of the day, everyone wanted the deal done, so there wasn’t a lot of bickering,” Patel said.

Scott Fischer, CEO of Dippin’ Dots, will also speak at the Franchise Finance & Growth Conference. He is working to aggressively grow the brand after buying the “ice cream of the future” chain out of bankruptcy court.

Landon Eckles is CEO of Clean Juice, and one of the emerging franchisors to present at the conference. Clean Juice won this year’s NextGen competition sponsored by the International Franchise Association, and with his wife and co-founder, Kat, they are selling units of what they say is the only USDA-certified organic juice franchise in the country.

Multi-unit operators and lenders interested in legacy brands such as Bonanza, Ponderosa or Fatburger can hear CEO Andy Wiederhorn’s discussion about those restaurant chains at the conference, and ask questions directly in a session following his presentation.

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Happy Tax, Honey Do, HuHot and more than 40 other franchise brands will tell their tales of financial performance and geographic growth, representing the lesser-known chains at the conference.

Meanwhile, Subway’s CEO Suzanne Greco will give the keynote address to open the Franchise Finance & Growth Conference at 1 p.m. on May 7, detailing her plans to improve profitability of the largest restaurant chain in the world.

Smoothie King’s CEO Wan Kim will present his storied New Orleans-based brand’s recent developments, while Angela Coopler, a director at Wendy’s, will outline the future at the legacy brand.

Visit www.franchisetimes.com to see the full agenda and register for the Franchise Finance & Growth Conference, May 7-9 at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

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