Church’s Chicken, the fast food chain that operates more than 1,500 establishments, including a Chattanooga restaurant on Brainerd Road, is expected to be sold from one California private equity firm to another.
San Francisco-based FFL Partners has agreed to sell the Church brand to the owner of the Quiznos submarine chain, San Diego-based High Bluff Capital Partners, with support from funds managed by FS Investments.
The fate of the company’s local headquarters has not been revealed by a spokesperson, but current CEO Joe Christina is expected to continue leading the restaurant business, according to a press release. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Most of the units in the chain are owned by franchisees. Of the 53 restaurants in Georgia at the end of last year, 45 were owned by franchisees, according to backgrounders filed by the company. Church’s operates 20 restaurants in Tennessee.
Church’s, which is also called Texas Chicken in some international markets, is the 43rd limited-service restaurant by sales in the United States, according to QSR magazine. It was founded in San Antonio in 1952 and has more restaurants in Texas than in any other state.
In a press release, High Bluff said it will boost the chain’s growth in the United States and elsewhere, including 100 new locations next year. He said the chain had system-wide sales of nearly $ 1.2 billion last year amid the pandemic.
That’s pretty much what it was almost a decade ago, according to a press release at the time. Over the past three years, the number of American restaurants in the business has gradually declined, according to a backgrounder on the company’s franchise.
High Bluff founder Anand Gowda said in a press release that the new owners will work closely with Church’s management team and franchisees to grow the business. Rushabh Vora, an executive at FS Partners, based in Philadelphia, highlighted growth forecasts for the global fast food chicken segment as well as the potential for Church’s expansion into China, Australia and other regions.