A roundup of interesting bits of news that came across the editor’s desk in the last month, including a bunch of personnel news, development deals, mergers and acquisitions and more from &pizza, Panera Bread, and The Cheesecake Factory, among others.

mergers + acquisitions + more

  • Washington, D.C.-based &pizza announced it closed a round of strategic funding from RSE Ventures. &pizza currently has 23 shops across Washington, D.C., Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia. The investment will fuel the chain’s expansion into Miami and Boston.
  • Another Broken Egg, an upscale breakfast concept, was acquired by Beekman Investment Partners, a New York-based private equity firm. 
  • Arby’s acquired Buffalo Wild Wings in a transaction valued at $2.9 billion
  • Panera Bread acquired Au Bon Pain Holding Co. Inc. The Boston-based bakery-cafe chain has 304 units worldwide, and will be part of Panera’s initiative to intensify growth in new real estate channels, including hospitals, universities, transportation centers and urban locations, among others.
  • MTY Food Group Inc. subsidiary Kahala Brands acquired two hamburger-focused chains, The Counter and Built. Together they have 41 franchised locations and 3 corporate stores.
  • YO! Sushi acquired Bento Sushi. YO! Sushi was acquired by Mayfair Equity Partners in 2015 and has 97 restaurants worldwide. Bento Sushia is Canada’s largest sushi company with over 600 sushi bars.

designer news

  • Oculus Inc., a full-service architecture and interior design firm headquartered in St. Louis, acquired Staicoff Design Company, a hospitality interiors firm. Staicoff Design will operate as a division of Oculus Inc. and serve as the anchor for Oculus hospitality business group. 
  • Interplan recently launched its fourth U.S. location, this one in Fort Worth, Texas. The office is being led by architect Truman Gee, a Fort Worth native and a principal of Interplan who has been with the company for over 18 years.

developer news

  • Fazoli’s named Jeff Sturgis chief development officer. Prior to joining Fazoli's, Sturgis led franchise development efforts for McAlister's Deli, Fantastic Sam's and FOCUS Brands.
  • Pinstripes hired Rob Hense as chief development officer. He will be responsible for the strategic planning and execution of the company's real estate site selection, design/construction and overall expansion plans, both domestically and internationally.

go big or go home

  • Denny’s opened its first restaurant in Guatamala.
  • Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has partnered with Serenity Hospitality, LLC to bring 45 Dickey’s locations to seven countries throughout the Middle East.
  • The Cheesecake Factory opened its first location in Canada at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto.

go big but stay close home

  • Fogo de Chão recently opened its 50th location worldwide, in Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers opened three new franchised locations in the Southeastern United States and announced a new franchise development agreement to expand the chain’s footprint in Arkansas.
  • Lennys Grill & Subs announced five new franchisees to its system in Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Arkansas. Each of the new restaurants will sport the chain’s updated menu and restaurant design. The five new locations are set to open in early 2018.
  • Taco John’s plans to open at least 12 new locations in central Kentucky.

recommended reading

branding notes

  • Domino’s has launched a baby registry. Earlier this year, the chain launched a wedding registry site.