Roark Capital Group Acquires Corner Bakery Cafe and Il Fornaio

Posted: 8th July 2011 15:12

Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity firm, announced that its affiliates have acquired Il Fornaio (America) Corporation, owner of Corner Bakery Cafe and Il Fornaio Restaurants and Bakeries.

Beginning in 1991 as a small bread bakery in Chicago, Corner Bakery Cafe has emerged over the last 20 years as a leader in the growing fast casual segment, serving guests made-to-order, hand-crafted favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and  boasting segment-leading catering services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas and operating 119 locations nationwide, Corner Bakery Cafe launched a strategic franchise development program in 2007 to attract seasoned franchise partners with multi-unit restaurant and retail experience. 

Il Fornaio, averaging over $5 million in annual sales per restaurant, has been a recognized leader in the upscale Italian segment for over 20 years. Founded in Italy and  based in Corte Madera, California, Il Fornaio owns and operates 22 full-service Italian  restaurants in California and across the United States that serve creatively prepared,  premium-quality Italian cuisine based on authentic regional Italian recipes. Il Fornaio’s wholesale bakeries produce a wide variety of hand-made breads, pastries and other artisan baked goods for sale at their own locations and to high-quality grocers and food service customers across the US.

Neal Aronson, Managing Partner of Roark, said, “Mike Hislop and his outstanding teams at Corner Bakery Cafe and Il Fornaio have built two terrific brands with strong  points of differentiation and excellent consumer appeal. We are very excited to partner with Mike to help grow the business.”  

“The partnership with Roark is a perfect fit, providing each brand with unique opportunities,” said Hislop, CEO of Il Fornaio (America) Corporation. “Our ability to leverage Roark’s strong background and extensive resources within the franchise and restaurant industries allows us to better serve our current Corner Bakery Cafe partners, while accelerating our pursuit of new franchisees.”  

With this acquisition, Roark has invested in 20 franchise businesses that operate in 50 states and 43 countries.  Corner Bakery Cafe and Il Fornaio will be Roark’s 10th restaurant investment along with FOCUS Brands, parent company of Carvel Ice Cream,  Cinnabon, Schlotzsky’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Auntie Anne’s Pretzel’s and the  Franchisor of Seattle’s Best Coffee on certain military bases and in certain international  markets, as well as McAlister’s Deli, and Wingstop, which are not affiliated with FOCUS Brands.  Other franchise and brand management companies owned by Roark include

Batteries Plus, Pet Valu, Bosley’s Pets, FastSigns, Money Mailer, and Atkins Nutritionals.


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