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Financing

Chili's parent buys 23 units from a longtime franchisee

Brinker International, which is buying up franchised units, did not reveal how much it paid Chesapeake Foods for the Mid-Atlantic region restaurants.
Chili's franchisee acquisition
Photograph: Shutterstock

The franchisor of Chili’s Grill & Bar has acquired 23 restaurants in the Mid Atlantic region from Chesapeake Foods, a franchisee of the casual dining chain for 37 years.

Brinker International did not reveal how much it paid for the stores but said the money came from an existing credit facility.

"This acquisition aligns with our overall growth strategy and belief in the company-owned model," Brinker CFO Joe Taylor said in a statement. "We've always appreciated the decades of quality operating performance that Chesapeake Foods brought to the partnership. We're excited about the opportunity to invest in this team and further grow Chili's presence in the Mid-Atlantic region."

Chesapeake became a franchisee of Chili’s in 1984, a year after Norman Brinker acquired the brand and nine years after the first restaurant was opened by concept creator Larry Lavine.

Brinker has not been a follower of the so-called asset-light model, where all the restaurants in a chain are operated by franchisees. In 2019, it acquired 116 units from franchisee ERJ Dining, the company run by former NBA star Junior Bridgeman.

The company operates or franchises 1,594 Chili’s restaurants. It also owns or franchises 54 Maggiano’s Little Italy units, along with two virtual concepts, It’s Just Wings and Maggiano’s Italian Classics.

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