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Financing

Roark Capital raises another $1.4B

The Atlanta-based private-equity firm, which has invested in numerous restaurants, has a new fund.
Photograph courtesy of Arby's

Roark Capital, the investment firm behind companies such as Arby’s owner Inspire Brands and Auntie Anne’s owner Focus Brands, has a new fund.

The Atlanta-based private-equity group has raised $1.4 billion in a new fund, Roark Diversified Restaurant Fund II LP, according to a federal securities filing late last week.

Roark first started raising the fund last year, long before the coronavirus began to spread.

It’s uncertain what the private-equity firm will do with the funds—representatives for the firm would not comment.

Roark has traditionally been among the most active private-equity firms in the restaurant space. Its deals have created two of the biggest brand operators in the U.S.: Inspire Brands, which operates Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic Drive-In and Jimmy John’s; and Focus, which operates Cinnabon, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Jamba, Schlotzsky’s and Carvel.

Roark also has a minority interest in Culver’s.

The size of the fund suggests that Roark is looking out for smaller deals. How the coronavirus shutdown influences that, however, remains to be seen.

Valuations for restaurant chains have fallen off a cliff in recent months, and some surprising companies could become available in the coming weeks as sponsors opt to shore up other brands or financial problems warrant a rescue.

Stronger companies, however, may likely hold out until they recover before exploring the market.

In either event, Roark now has a fund it could use to invest in restaurants in the coming months.

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