Food for thought: 5 PE deals catering to golf courses, football stadiums and frat houses

Arbor Investments, Entrepreneurial Equity Partners and Copley Equity Partners are among the firms making deals.

In the first half of the year, PE Hub saw a slew of lower-mid-market private equity-backed deal announcements involving food services for a wide range of institutions from colleges to sports venues.

Here are five deals you can feast on, starting with the most recently announced. (All were for undisclosed terms.)

1. Copley Equity Partners goes for the “Upper Crust”

In June, Denver- and Boston-based private equity firm Copley Equity Partners revealed that it made a minority investment in Upper Crust Food Service, a contract food service management company serving sorority and fraternity houses on college campuses, as well as summer camps, across the US.

Upper Crust merged with College Chefs last year, and the combined company serves about 400 locations today.

2. Arbor Investments acquires Golden Malted and Heartland Waffles

Also in June, Palm Beach-headquartered Arbor Investments announced that it agreed to buy Golden Malted and Heartland Waffles from Roch Capital.

The combined entity is headquartered in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, and is a supplier of waffle irons and waffle mix to the hospitality and food service industry.

Arbor senior operating partner Tim Fallon assumed the role of chairman and interim CEO.

“We look forward to partnering with the Golden Malted-Heartland team to continue providing their hospitality and food service customers with customized waffle programs that elevate their menus, enhance profits, and differentiate the guest experience,” said Arbor vice president George Russell.

The acquisition is Arbor’s sixth platform investment out of its fifth equity investment fund.

3. Entrepreneurial Equity Partners makes growth investment in Furlani

In May, Chicago-based private equity firm Entrepreneurial Equity Partners announced an investment in Furlani, a garlic bread maker that distributes to retailers and food service operators in North America.

Furlani operates out of three bakeries in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

“Garlic-based frozen specialty breads is a solid, growing category, and we believe Furlani holds a strong, reputable position in the space,” said E2P partner Ryan Schweet.

4. Bruin Capital acquires Proof of the Pudding

In another deal in May, Bruin Capital announced it took a majority stake in Proof of the Pudding, a hospitality and food service group headquartered in Atlanta.

Proof of the Pudding’s clients include large-scale professional golf tournaments, professional auto racing tracks, college football stadiums, athletic departments, international boat and yachting shows, convention centers and airports.

“When you think about it, running premium catering and experiences for venues and organizations essentially means you’re in charge of the brand and customer experience,” said Bruin Capital founder and CEO George Pyne, in a statement. “Proof has the trust of iconic venues and institutions to serve as their brand steward and deliver the highest standards of excellence.”

Pyne added, “We think Proof will lead the movement to give consumers valuable, memory-filled experiences.”

5. Riveter Capital acquires Twelve Oaks Catering Company

New York-based Riveter Capital announced it completed its acquisition of Twelve Oaks Catering Company, a Dallas-based company focused on serving homemade healthy meals to kids, in March.

The acquisition was an add-on deal for Riveter Capital portfolio company The Healthy Lunch Box, a Texas-based food service management company that provides food to schools and day-care centers in the Houston area.

“This acquisition allows us to continue our strategic expansion within Texas while focusing on our mission of providing high-quality, homemade healthy school meals to kids,” said Riveter partner Sarah Abdel-Razek.