Chicken Salad Chick Captures Franchise Times Deal of Year Award
Scott Deviney, president and CEO of Chicken Salad Chick, and Stacy Brown, co-founder, at their 150th store opening in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in February.
Chicken Salad Chick's attraction of a much-larger majority investor, Brentwood Associates with its $2.4 billion fund, captured the Franchise Times Deal of the Year award today at the Franchise Investment Conference, and CEO Scott Deviney invoked an African proverb when accepting the award.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together, he said, acknowledging the team of people needed to make the deal happen. Deviney also outlined a rigorous due diligence process to get there.
“The process was exhausting, as you can imagine. I will say this, we were very fortunate," he told Franchise Times in an earlier interview. "We had some of the best of the best private equity groups that were interested in partnering with us. That was extremely humbling and extremely flattering.”
Brentwood Associates—which has also backed Zoes Kitchen, Orangetheory Fitness and Blaze Pizza—has majority ownership and will control the board. Deviney said his new investors have told him to stick to about 50 restaurant openings a year; continue the intense local focus of the restaurants; and continue to push the “craveable” homemade chicken salad recipe and their closed-on-Sundays policy.
“Brentwood didn’t come in and say, here’s 15 things we need you to change. Brentwood came in and said, keep doing what you’re doing. That was really refreshing,” he said.
He calls the Brentwood Associates people “very down to earth.”
“People, firms, restaurant brands, everybody has a reputation. We like to think we have a good reputation at Chicken Salad Chick. So what we had our antenna very high on, was listening to different groups…people who have worked for them or worked with them. You get a sense for how people work.”
In total, 12 companies received awards at the luncheon March 10, a highlight of the Franchise Investment Conference, presented by Franchise Times at the Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West hotel. They are:
DEAL OF THE YEAR 2020:
Chicken Salad Chick and CEO Scott Deviney attracted Brentwood Associates as new investor, buying out Eagle Merchant Partners.
DEALMAKERS OF THE YEAR 2020:
Ace Hardware buys Handyman Matters from founder Andy Bell, will re-brand and roll out Ace Handyman Services in 2020.
Auspex Capital advised Wenesco Group, a NJ-based Wendy’s franchisee, in buyout of the estate of former 80 percent owner and merger with Triwen Group.
Luihn VantEdge Partners is the new entity for Taco Bell and KFC franchisee Jody Luihn after a majority recapitalization, advised by Trinity Capital.
The McLean Group advised CDM Fitness Holdings, Outdoor Living Brands, JACS Development and KiwiMex in four franchising deals.
Modern Acupuncture attracted LA-based Strand Equity and Seth Rodsky, a new player in the franchise space, along with actress Cameron Diaz as investors.
Premium Service Brands acquired Kitchen Wise, Maid Right and Renew Crew in three separate deals to add to its stable and increase unit sales to existing franchisees.
Self Esteem Brands, parent company of Anytime Fitness and Waxing the City, bought Basecamp Fitness and The Bar Method in two separate deals.
Sun Holdings, led by Guillermo Perales, bought 51 locations and development rights for 47 new units from McAlister’s Deli in one of the brand’s largest deals, and acquired the Taco Bueno brand.
Unbridled Capital advised Rage Inc.’s Bob Geist in the sale of 117 Pizza Hut stores and 38 fee properties to Tasty Huts LLC, primarily in North Carolina.
WKS Restaurant Group acquired 94 Denny’s restaurants from QK Holdings in a stock sale, making WKS the largest franchisee in that system.
Special/Career Achievement: Terry Kelm for 16 years leading Sunbelt Franchise Re-sales, playing an active role in educating owners and selling nearly 400 businesses.
The Franchise Times Dealmakers awards are selected by a panel of judges from nominations submitted in the fourth quarter of each year and covering M&A transactions in franchising for the trailing 18 months ending December 31. All deals will be featured in the April issue of Franchise Times. The Franchise Investment Conference continues through March 11.