Private equity firm to sell Jack’s Family Restaurants

Onex Group said it has a deal to sell the Alabama-based chain to an undisclosed buyer and triples its investment.
Photograph courtesy of Jack's

Onex Group, a Toronto-based investment fund, has sold Birmingham, Ala.-based Jack’s Family Restaurants, the firm said Friday.

Deal terms, including the identity of the buyer, were not disclosed. 

A source with knowledge of the negotiations said that AEA Investors won the bidding for Jack’s. A representative for the private equity firm would not comment.

The sale has nevertheless worked out well for Onex.

The fund said that it made a total equity investment of $234 million when it bought the chain in July 2015.

Just four years later, Onex said it will have received $835 million in proceeds from the transaction, including the sale price and $106 million in dividend distributions. That’s 3.6 times its original investment.  

“Over the course of our investment, Jack’s significantly accelerated its growth and brought its differentiated concept, high-quality food and exceptional customer service to new communities across the southern U.S.,” Matt Ross, a managing director at Onex, said in a statement.

Jack’s has quietly been a strong regional growth chain. The company was put up for sale earlier this year. It operates 160 locations, most of which are company-owned, and generated $163.3 million in U.S. system sales in 2018, according to data from Restaurant Business sister company Technomic. That was up 7.1% from the previous year.

Todd Bartmess, Jack’s CEO, said in a statement that Onex’s support “has allowed us to continue to invest in our people, technology and the growth of the brand.”

Jack’s is one of a number of chains that have been for sale in recent months. Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants recently agreed to a sale to Ares Management. Restaurants Unlimited filed for bankruptcy to prompt a sale.

Chains such as Perkins & Marie Callender’s and Church’s Chicken are on the block. Whataburger was recently sold, and Red Robin just this week received an unsolicited acquisition offer.

UPDATE: This story has been updated with additional information.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


For Papa Johns, the CEO departure came at the wrong time

The Bottom Line: The pizza chain worked to convince franchisees to buy into a massive marketing shift. And then the brand’s CEO left.


Restaurants bring the industry's concerns to Congress

Nearly 600 operators made their case to lawmakers as part of the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference.


Proposed TGI Fridays sale is no home run, but has promise for both sides

The $220 million all-stock deal would get Fridays’ owner TriArtisan out of its decade-long investment and give the struggling chain a like-minded partner in franchisee Hostmore, experts say.


More from our partners