Moderator Ray Villaman has asked the operators on the panel to review what information their private-equity financiers expect of them on an on-going basis.
McAlister's CEO Frank Paci says he has calls once a month with Roark, but will avail himself of the company's resources and knowledge. He's said several times that the interaction is usually a matter of getting advice or using the equity owner as a sound board, not an accounting of financial results.
Steve Romaniello of Roark Capital is recounting the importance and value of executives on the board of the company and some of the businesses it owns. The all-star roster includes Kerry Kramp, Sid Feltenstein and Jon Luther.
A filled room of operators and media is listening to private equity companies and chain executives explain what type of restaurant businesses are most likely to get capital in the current environment.
There's a definite consensus on that point: It has to be a growing multi-unit operation; it has to be in sync with the trends in the market; it needs defensible points of difference; and, stressed perhaps most of all, it must have a high-caliber management team that's willing to interact with an equity partner.
That criteria applies as much to a whole chain as it does to a single unit, says Richard Fitzgerald, co-CEO of CapitalSpring. He cited the example of someone who started as a Domino's delivery driver, worked his way up to store manager, and now wanted his own restaurant.