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Emerging Brands

Hot chicken chain Tumble 22 acquired by group including ex-Texas Roadhouse COO

Doug Thompson will become CEO of the five-unit brand he is buying with well-known restaurant investors Bruckman, Rosser, Sherrill & Co. and Rosser Capital Partners.
Hot chicken
Hot chicken concepts have exploded in popularity in recent years. / Photograph: Shutterstock

Two restaurant investment powerhouses and former Texas Roadhouse COO Doug Thompson have teamed up to buy Tumble 22, a five-unit hot chicken concept based in Texas.

Bruckman, Rosser, Sherrill & Co. (BRS), Rosser Capital Partners (RCP) and Thompson announced Tuesday that they are acquiring the chain with plans to accelerate its growth. Thompson will be its new CEO. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The full-service Tumble 22 was created by Guy Villavaso and Larry Foles, the restaurateurs behind established brands such as Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and Hopdoddy Burger Bar.

BRS and RCP are well-known restaurant investors. Their portfolios have included California Pizza Kitchen, Logan’s Roadhouse, Golden Corral, Au Bon Pain and other mid-sized chains. 

Founded in 2017 as a food truck, Tumble 22 now has five brick-and-mortar locations in Texas. It focuses on fried chicken “tumbled precisely 22 times for the perfect crunch” and available in six heat levels, from “Wimpy” to “Stupid Hot.” 

"Tumble 22 is a differentiated restaurant concept with an unrelenting focus on food quality and customer service," said BRS Managing Director Tory Rooney in a statement. "We are beyond excited to be partnering with Tumble 22 to accelerate growth in new and existing markets."

It will get an experienced leader in Thompson, who spent more than 20 years at Texas Roadhouse before retiring last November. Before that, he worked with Carrabba’s and Outback Steakhouse.

In taking the reins at Tumble 22, he said “It’s all about the people.”

“Tory and [RCP Managing Partner Jacob Organek] are experienced partners on the financial side. Guy and Larry are legends in the industry, and I am honored to grow their brand,” he said in a statement.

Hot chicken concepts have exploded in recent years, with capital flowing into emerging brands like Dirty Bird Fried Chxxx, Dave’s Hot Chicken and now Tumble 22. Sales of hot chicken sandwiches jumped 327% last year, according to Tecnomic.

The fiery comfort dish has its roots in Nashville. Its recent popularity has been driven by Gen Zers and millennials.

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