Financing

Church’s Chicken agrees to be sold to Quiznos’ parent

High Bluff Capital Partners has entered into an agreement to buy the quick-service chicken chain from FFL Partners.
Church's Chicken
Photo: Shutterstock

Quick-service chain Church’s Chicken has agreed to be purchased by the parent of Quiznos and Taco Del Mar, the companies announced Monday.

High Bluff Capital Partners said it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Atlanta-based chain, which had been owned by FFL Partners. The deal is expected to be completed during the third quarter.

Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Church’s has more than 1,500 restaurants in 26 countries and is expected to open more than 100 new stores in the next year, the company said.

Church’s CEO Joe Christina will continue leading the chain, he said in a statement.

“The past few years have been all about growth for the brand and its franchisees,” Christina said. “Our focus will be to deliver against our strategic plan with new locations in the U.S. and internationally and continued profitable sales growth.”

Investment firm High Bluff created Rego Restaurant Group, its restaurant platform, in 2018, when it acquired fast casuals Quiznos and Taco Del Mar. The operator has been trying ghost kitchens to see if they can boost sales at its shrinking Quiznos brand.

While other chicken chains have exploded during the pandemic, Church’s has continued to struggle.

Church’s 2020 sales were down 14.8% from 2019, and the chain’s unit count fell nearly 10% during that time, according to data from Restaurant Business sister company, Technomic.

“At a time when the entire restaurant industry has faced unprecedented challenges, Church’s has stood out as a notable bright spot, having emerged from the pandemic with considerable tailwinds that strongly position the brand for tremendous growth geographically as well as in the overall chicken category,” said Anand Gowda, High Bluff’s founder, in a statement. “Our investment strategy continues to center on identifying brands with long-term connections to consumers that can be energized and propelled to greater success through targeted industry expertise, operational efficiencies, innovation and creative brand management.”

Church’s was founded nearly 70 years ago in San Antonio. It is known for serving original and spicy fried chicken, as well as tenders and honey-butter biscuits. Internationally, the brand operates as Texas Chicken.

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