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Most of Kona Grill sold to former CEO’s company for $20.3M

A bankruptcy court has OK'd the sale of 24 restaurants to Williston Holding, the company headed by Marcus Jundt. 
Photograph by Jonathan Maze

A federal bankruptcy court has approved the sale of 24 Kona Grill polished-casual restaurants for $20.3 million to Williston Holding, the company headed by former Kona CEO and co-founder Marcus Jundt. 

The sale would pare the holdings of Kona Grill’s bankrupt parent to three restaurants, according to bankruptcy court documents. But local news reports indicate that at least one of those three, a store in Columbus, Ohio, has been closed. 

Kona filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the end of April. The chain had closed 19 stores over the prior year. Overexpansion was cited as one of the brand’s problems, along with a high turnover of CEOs and heavy-handed cost cuts. Kona cycled through four leaders in the year preceding the bankruptcy filing. 

Williston’s intentions for the acquired restaurants were not revealed in the filing. The deal included right to the Kona Grill name, which would allow Williston to operate the stores under that identity and open new ones.  

Kona Grills are typically large units, measuring between 5,900 and 7,400 square feet, according to Technomic data. The researcher pegged the brand’s average sales per unit at $3.7 million in 2018, down from $4.1 million the prior year.

Jundt resigned as CEO of Kona in March after serving in the role for just a few months.  

Williston currently operates about 50 restaurants under 10 brands, including Casa Ole, Monterey’s Little Mexico and Uberrito Fresh Mex. 

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