Wexford Capital, a former investor in Famous Dave’s, is apparently looking to get back into the restaurant business.
The Florida-based hedge fund has a $12 million offer to acquire Corner Bakery out of bankruptcy court, according to documents filed last week. Wexford would serve as a “stalking horse” bidder, essentially an opening bid in an auction set for next week. Wexford could get a breakup fee of up to $750,000 if another buyer ends up with the company.
According to court documents, Jeff Crivello, who guided Famous Dave’s as its CEO until its sale to MTY Food Group last year, is working with Wexford on the deal.
Notably, Corner Bakery’s owner had previously approached Crivello to run the chain during a reorganization before it filed for bankruptcy. SSCP, which owns the company’s debt, also tried to get Crivello to serve as Corner Bakery’s chief restructuring officer. Neither talks went anywhere and Corner Bakery declared Chapter 11 in February.
Corner Bakery had struggled in recent years, particularly after the pandemic drained its core urban markets of the office workers central to its business. Its average unit volumes last year were just $1.4 million, down 27% from five years earlier, according to data from Restaurant Business sister company Technomic.
The company finished 2022 with 138 locations, down from 187 in 2017.
Wexford was a big investor in Famous Dave’s and took a more active role in its management starting in 2015. Crivello was named CEO in 2017, the company was later renamed BBQ Holdings and began acquiring smaller concepts such as Village Inn and Granite City.
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