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TGI Fridays owner invests in digital restaurant company C3

As part of the deal, some of TriArtisan Capital's restaurants will start offering C3 brands as delivery-only options.
C3 food items
Photograph courtesy of C3

The parent company of TGI Fridays, P.F. Chang's and Hooters has taken a stake in fast-growing digital restaurant platform C3 as it looks to optimize its kitchens with virtual brands.

Private-equity firm TriArtisan Capital Advisors revealed Friday that it has invested $10 million in C3 and will bring its concepts that include Umami Burger, Krispy Rice and others into its restaurants as delivery-only offerings. 

C3, an offshoot of Sam Nazarian's SBE Hospitality, operates dozens of proprietary, digital-first concepts across more than 250 locations that include brick-and-mortar restaurants, ghost kitchens and hotels. It also has its own app, Go by Citizens, that allows customers to order delivery from multiple C3 brands at once. 

As part of the investment, some of TriArtisan's concepts will be included in the Go by Citizens app. The companies did not detail which TriArtisan and C3 brands will be involved in the cross-over.

TriArtisan executives were enthusiastic about C3's tech-driven approach and brand-building acumen, as well as its strategy of running multiple concepts from a single location.

"What C3 has built is brilliant," said Rohit Manocha, co-founder and managing director of TriArtisan, in a statement. "The future of this industry lies in leveraging extra capacity in restaurant spaces to maximize all-day revenue potential."

C3's focus on millennials and Gen Zers also appealed to TriArtisan as it looks to make its brands relevant to a younger audience.

"C3’s brands are resonating well with the increased buying power of younger generations, providing a road map for legacy brands to reinvent themselves," Manocha said. "We want to see C3’s brands in more restaurant kitchens and we’re proud to be part of the digital kitchen revolution by investing in C3’s vision."

The $10 million investment is part of an $80 million Series B round announced in July that included contributions from real estate investor Brookfield Asset Management and ghost kitchen provider Reef Technology. TriArtisan's involvement was not made public until now.

TriArtisan bought TGI Fridays in 2014 in a joint deal with Sentinel Capital Partners. It partnered with another PE firm, Paulson & Co., to acquire P.F. Chang's in March 2019 and later that year bought Hooters of America in a joint deal with Nord Bay Capital. 

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