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Western Sizzlin

Financing

Activist restaurant investors are bullies in better suits

Some say they light a fire under management. Others just see brands going up in flames.

Owner on the premises

An owner doesn't always have to be in a restaurant—but it helps.

A shareholder in the militant investor’s holding company wants seats on the board and a tighter rein on compensation.

More than half of the restaurant industry’s $491 billion in sales come from the Top 500 chains. And these giants grew at a modestly stronger rate, both in terms of sales and store counts, than the industry overall. Restaurant Business focused on the leading 250 performers to identify trends for our first-ever special report delivering lessons from Technomic’s annual Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report. This special package includes lessons for all operators from the largest chains by segment, menu category and more.

In compiling our second annual ranking of the fastest-growing up-and-coming restaurant chains in America —the ones tallying sales between $25 million and $50 million—we were struck by how many new growth stories there were to tell. Thirty-one of this year’s Future 50 growth chains, or 62 percent, are entirely new to the list. That tells us that the entrepreneurial spirit thrives in 2007, and that the restaurant business is still where it lives.

A dissident investment group that included industry veterans Jim Stryker and Gene Baldwin failed to muster enough votes from fellow shareholders to force a change in control.

Among the 2016 Top 500 ranking, the family casual category is the only one in which sales are down year over year.

Despite tough economic times, beef is still popular among foodservice patrons.

Shareholders voted to keep current directors and adopt anti-takeover measures opposed by the activist investor.

Appeals to families with steaks and other fare at moderate prices; sells its sauces and seasonings online