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CapitalSpring invests in Mike Connor’s casual chains

Photograph: Shutterstock

CapitalSpring, an investment firm specializing in the restaurant industry, has acquired a minority stake in Connor Concepts, operator of The Chop House and Connors Steak & Seafood polished-casual concepts.

The investment, which involves debt as well as an equity infusion, will enable Connor to continue its expansion south and west of its core Tennessee market, CapitalSpring says. 

The announcement indicates that Mike Connor, the former Steak and Ale and Grady’s Goodtimes executive who founded Connor Concepts 27 years ago, will remain atop his company. 

“I was afraid that in taking on an institutional capital partner I’d be forced to compromise on what I think are the pillars of our success,” Connor said in the announcement. “CapitalSpring’s solution allows me to stay in control of the business, and gives me and my team access to their wealth of industry knowledge, best practices and resources to accelerate the growth of the company.”

Connor Concepts currently operates 18 restaurants in six states, according to its website.

CapitalSpring would not disclose the size and structure of its investment,  but described it as “significant” and “creative.” The firm says that most of its investments fall within a range of $10 million to $100 million. 

The company has invested in operations ranging from Brass Tap and Beef ‘O’ Brady’s to McAlister’s Deli franchisee Saxton Group and multiconcept franchisee Capstone Restaurant Group.

Connor formed Connor Concepts in the early 1990s, after Brinker International acquired Grady’s from the Regas family and moved its headquarters to Brinker’s offices in Dallas. Connor decided to stay in Tennessee rather than continue as head of Grady's.

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