Financing

Garnett Station Partners acquires Firebirds Wood Fired Grill

The investment firm has also recapitalized the polished-casual dining chain and plans to accelerate the brand’s development.
Firebirds sold
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill was sold to investment firm Garnett Station Partners, / Photograph: Shutterstock.

Garnett Station Partners, the New York-based investment firm, on Monday said that it has acquired the polished-casual dining chain Firebirds Wood Fired Grill.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the sale comes four years after Firebirds was sold to a different investment firm, J.H. Whitney Capital.

The Charlotte-based Firebirds operates 56 locations in 20 states throughout the South and Southwest. It generated nearly $250 million in U.S. system sales in 2021, the most recent years for which figures were available, according to data from Restaurant Business sister company Technomic.

The chain is known for its wood-fired menu with a Rocky Mountain lodge-themed environment, along with its Firebar and its menu of beverages and bar bites.

“Firebirds has found tremendous success over the past 20 years through the power of its concept, the passion of its team and the loyalty of its guests, contributing to consistent outperformance from both an average-unit volume and same-store traffic perspective,” Matt Perelman, cofounder and managing partner at Garnett Station, said in a statement.

The deal suggests that mergers and acquisitions in the restaurant space may open up after more than a year. There have been fewer deals since late 2021 as a combination of weaker margins, higher interest rates and lower valuations kept deals from getting done.

Yet traffic has largely returned to casual dining restaurants and brands such as Firebirds, which offer a more upscale experience, have generally outperformed other concepts.

Garnett Station said that Firebirds would “continue to accelerate growth and development” following the acquisition.

“We are incredibly proud of the brand that Firebirds is today and are thrilled to work in partnership with Garnett Station as we enter this next chapter,” Steve Kislow, CEO of Firebirds, said in a statement. “We are confident that Firebirds will continue its impressive trajectory of growth while delivering the best possible dining experience for our guests.”

TD Cowen and Netrex Capital Markets served as financial advisors to Garnett Station. Kirkland & Ellis was legal advisor. NorthPoint Advisors was financial advisor to Firebirds.

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