Focus Brands Inc. may be preparing for an initial public offering, according to a Wall Street Journal report Thursday.

Focus Brands, the Atlanta-based parent of Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Schlotzsky’s and Cinnabon, has been meeting with investment bankers to discuss the possible offering, the report said.

However, the report continued, the rumored IPO is still in initial planning phases. The company is currently owned by Roark Capital Partners, a private equity firm.

Neither Focus Brands nor Roark representatives could be immediately reached for comment.

Focus Brands has recently turned its attention to international and domestic growth, especially for its snack brands. The Middle East, Latin America, and Southeast Asia are all target markets for growth, Mike Shattuck, the company’s international president, told Nation’s Restaurant News in January. “We see a lot of growth potential out there,” he said. “And we have the capacity to do so efficiently.”

Focus Brands has also been in expansion mode lately with its fast-casual Mexican concept Moe’s Southwest Grill. In a recent interview with NRN, president Paul Damico said franchisees are lined up for the brand.

“We’re seeing more groups interested in Moe’s than we have ever before,” Damico said. “The fast-casual Mexican segment is one of the fastest-growing segments in the restaurant industry, and Moe’s is no exception.”

Moe’s currently opens a new location about every five days, and the chain opened its 500th location earlier this year in New York City.

For Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon, the company is exploring co-branded units, which are intended to leverage the brands against each other to expand dayparts and sales.

Schlotzsky’s, Focus Brands’ sandwich concept, completed a reimaging of older restaurants. The 350- unit brand claims the revamped units have seen sales boosts of 20 percent, on average.

Focus Brands franchises and operates about 3,800 locations systemwide.

Contact Erin Dostal at erin.dostal@penton.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @erindostal