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Investors have pumped billions of dollars into the restaurant industry in recent years. This year, for the annual Power 20 list, Restaurant Business highlights the investors that have been among the most active.

These companies have bought and sold numerous restaurant chains as well as invested in upstarts they believe could change the industry. They’ve paid high multiples in earth-shattering deals for desirable targets that didn’t even know they were for sale, and they’ve found diamonds in the rough. They’ve created new restaurant operating companies. Some have traditional, five-year timelines, while others prefer to hold their investments for much longer. No matter the end goal, this group of investors has flexed its muscles in recent years, helping to fuel a remarkably active mergers and acquisitions market in the restaurant industry.

By Jonathan Maze