Fogo de Chao to be acquired by Bain Capital

The deal is a change of course for the 76-unit steakhouse brand, which had been preparing for an IPO.
Fogo de Chao has 76 restaurants worldwide. | Photo courtesy of Fogo de Chao

Fogo de Chao, the fast-growing Brazilian steakhouse chain, is being acquired by Bain Capital Private Equity from current owner Rhone Capital. 

The deal represents a change of course for 76-unit Fogo, which had been preparing for an initial public offering as recently as March. Financial terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed.

Fogo de Chao said the investment will help it continue a streak of strong growth that began under Rhone, which acquired the chain in 2018 for $560 million. It will keep its existing management, including CEO Barry McGowan.

“Over the past several years, we made significant progress enhancing our unique offering and ability to bring the very best in experiential dining to more guests than ever before,” McGowan said in a statement. “Bain Capital shares our vision, and we are excited to leverage their extensive experience investing in and supporting the global growth of restaurant businesses.”

Founded in Brazil in 1979 and brought stateside in 1997, Fogo de Chao serves grilled, seasoned meats cooked churrasco-style on skewers and then carved at the table by the chefs, known as gauchos. Customers can try up to 16 different meats in an all-you-can eat format for a fixed price. They can also visit the buffet-like Market Table, which offers an array of soups, salads and charcuterie. About 60 of its 76 restaurants are in the U.S.

The brand has done well coming out of the pandemic. System sales rose more than 17% last year, according to Technomic, and it is in its third straight year of 15% unit growth.

Bain Capital has been a frequent restaurant investor, with past holdings in Bloomin’ Brands, Dunkin and Domino’s. It was also reportedly interested in buying Subway, which is still for sale. 

The deal for Fogo will close in September. Debt financing for the transaction is being led by Deutsche Bank, who is also serving as financial advisor to Bain Capital. 

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