CORTE MADERA -- Il Fornaio (America) Corp., which owns the Corner Bakery Cafe and Il Fornaio Restaurants and Bakeries chains, has been acquired by affiliates of Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity firm.
Terms of that deal weren't disclosed.
The announcement came the same day Roark separately announced the acquisition of the 3,600-location Arby's fast-food chain from Wendy's/Arby's Group Inc. in a deal valued at $430 million.
"Mike Hislop and his outstanding teams at Corner Bakery Cafe and Il Fornaio have built two terrific brands with strong points of differentiation and excellent consumer appeal," said Neal Aronson, managing partner of Roark said of the Il Fornaio chairman and chief executive officer. "We are very excited to partner with Mike to help grow the business."
"The partnership with Roark is a perfect fit, providing each brand with unique opportunities," said Mr. Hislop. "Our ability to leverage Roark's strong background and extensive resources within the franchise and restaurant industries allows us to better serve our current Corner Bakery Cafe partners, while accelerating our pursuit of new franchisees."
Il Fornaio employs about 40 at the Corte Madera corporate office and about 70 at the restaurant here in the Corte Madera Town Center.
"Il Fornaio will continue to operate as is, and no changes in either office staffing or restaurant operations are anticipated," said Michael Mindel, senior vice president of marketing, this afternoon. "There will be no consolidation of any other operations."
Roark now has invested in 20 franchise businesses operating in 50 states and 43 countries. Corner Bakery Cafe and Il Fornaio will be Roark's 10th restaurant investment. Others investments by the firm, which manages $1.5 billion in assets, include FOCUS Brands, owner of Carvel Ice Cream, Cinnabon, Schlotzsky's, Moe's Southwest Grill, Auntie Anne's Pretzel's, franchisor of Seattle's Best Coffee on certain military bases and in certain international markets. Holdings not connected to FOCUS include McAlister's Deli, Wingstop, Batteries Plus, Pet Valu, Bosley's Pets, FastSigns, Money Mailer and Atkins Nutritionals.
Il Fornaio started as a baking school and then retail bakery in Italy in the early 1970s. The concept was was brought to the U.S. in 1981 by Williams-Sonoma, which sold it in 1983. One of the most recent owners acquired Il Fornaio in 1987 and opened a bakery and full-service Italian restaurant in Corte Madera.
The company went public in 1997, and management took it private in 2001. Il Fornaio expanded into wholesale baking in 2005.
Today, there are 22 Il Fornaio locations. Revenues exceed $5 million per location.
Dallas-based Corner Bakery Cafe started in 1991 and has 119 company-owned and franchised locations nationwide. Il Fornaio acquired it in 2006 from Brinker International.