Argonne Capital Group LLC has acquired 50 franchised Applebee’s units in Florida, doubling its holdings of the DineEquity Inc. casual-dining brand, Argonne said Thursday.
The Atlanta-based private equity firm, through its subsidiary Summit Restaurant Group LLC and Neighborhood Restaurant Partners Florida LLC, acquired the Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar units and development rights in Tampa and Orlando from Casual Restaurants Concepts Inc. and CRC II LLC. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Argonne is also the nation’s largest franchisee of DineEquity’s IHOP family-dining brand. It owns and operates 254 IHOP restaurants and franchises 48 Applebee’s units in Atlanta and San Antonio, the company said. The acquisition brings Argonne’s combined holdings to 352 units of the two chains.
Earlier this week, Applebee’s said it has nearly reached its goal of becoming an almost-all-franchised brand with the signing of an asset purchase agreement to sell 33 company-owned restaurants, primarily in Missouri and Indiana.
“We are pleased to invest again in the strong Applebee's brand and expand our total portfolio of successful DineEquity franchises,” said Michael Klump, founder and president of Argonne. Klump said the company intended to develop additional locations and capitalize on “synergies” in the Southeast.
The 50 restaurants purchased from CRC join 40 Applebee's restaurants in Atlanta and the surrounding area that were acquired last year from Applebee's founder Bill Palmer, and eight previously acquired Applebee's restaurants in San Antonio.
EARLIER: Argonne acquires 40 IHOP locations
"The team at Casual Restaurant Concepts has been my family for over 20 years. I am delighted that my team will stay together under the stewardship of Summit Restaurant Group,” Franklin Carson, president and founder of CRC, said in a statement.
"I hired Franklin to lead company and franchise operations back in 1984. Over his more than 28 years with this brand, Franklin's contributions have been tremendous. His leadership and commitment have left an indelible mark on this brand," added Palmer, Summit Restaurant Group’s vice chairman.
“Both Franklin and Argonne represent the power of DineEquity's franchisee base, and we salute Franklin for his invaluable service and Argonne as they grow their investment in our brands,” said Julia Stewart, DineEquity's chairman and chief executive.
Argonne's portfolio includes Stevi B's Pizza Buffet and Krystal, as well as the Summit Restaurant Group, which together generate annual sales of more than $1 billion.
Glendale, Calif.-based DineEquity has more than 3,500 restaurants in 18 countries.