2021 Franchise Times Dealmaker of the Year Awards



Last month, three Unbridled Capital deals were chosen as winners of the Franchise Times Dealmaker of the Year awards. To our knowledge, this has never happened before. Perhaps even more impressive, of the 11 total Dealmaker of the Year awards granted in 2021, only three were restaurant franchisee-to-franchisee M&A deals. Unbridled advised on all three of these deals and was the only M&A advisor in each deal.

Concurrent with these awards, Rick will be participating in a virtual discussion panel during Franchise Times Dealmakers Week April 19-22, 2021. He will be discussing Attracting Capital to Your Business–What Buyers and Sellers Want Now on Wednesday, April 21st at 11:00 AM CST.

Before we introduce each deal, we want to congratulate the buyers and sellers on these three transactions. For Unbridled, we are humbled and honored to win these awards. We believe this previously unheard-of momentum shows unmistakably that Unbridled Capital is the most-thorough, most-effective, and best-connected franchise M&A advisory firm in our country.

The 1st deal was Quality Restaurant Group, backed by GenRock Capital Management, which bought 62 Sonics from MVP Sonic and Buddy McClain. Unbridled represented the seller in this transaction – who was one of the largest and most successful franchisees in the Sonic system. This deal was historic because it marked one of the first – if not the first – outside private-equity or family-office buyer to enter the Sonic system (of which there will be many more to come, we are certain). Interestingly, Unbridled has now sold almost 175 restaurants in three different brands to the GenRock Capital team. They are fast-becoming one of the country’s largest franchisees.

The 2nd deal was a buy-side representation of Restaurant Brands New Zealand in their acquisition of the assets of Great American Chicken, the primary KFC franchisee in Los Angeles with 70 restaurants. This was a landmark transaction in many ways. Restaurant Brands is publicly traded on both the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges, and this beach-head investment will enable them to expand their holdings beyond Hawaii and into the mainland US market. Additionally, they will immediately become one of KFC’s largest domestic franchisees. I will point out that it is very rare to see an international buyer acquire US restaurants – generally, it is the other way around – so, this transaction involved a level of complexity, patience, and experience not frequently seen in our industry.

In the 3rd deal, Unbridled Capital rolls up four sellers to sell 67 Moe's Southwest Grill stores in Florida and the Southeast to Quality Restaurant Group, making Quality the largest Moe's franchisee. I am really proud of our team on this one as well. We have never been involved previously in the simultaneous sale of 4 franchise businesses at once to one buyer. Sellers in these types of brands generally do not have an identifiable buyer since the existing franchise base usually cannot afford the price or handle the scale of a large acquisition. Creating a larger deal by combining multiple sellers attracted well-capitalized buyers from outside the Moe’s system. For any franchisee in a non-Tier 1 brand, you should be massively encouraged by this deal. For everyone else, I humbly point out that this successful closing shows that Unbridled can handle the most complicated of transactions that this industry can throw at us.