Roark Capital Group said Tuesday it has made a growth-equity investment in Naf Naf Grill. Financial terms weren’t announced. Chicago-based Naf Naf Grill provides Middle Eastern cuisine in an Americanized format.
ATLANTA, June 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity firm, announced today that a Roark affiliate has made a growth-equity investment in Chicago-based Naf Naf Grill. Naf Naf Grill is an emerging, on-trend fast casual concept serving high quality, authentic Middle Eastern cuisine in an Americanized format. This investment is Roark’s 45th multi-unit company, 18th restaurant brand, and first emerging growth brand. Company Founders David Sloan and Sahar Sander will continue to lead Naf Naf Grill as Co-CEOs.
Founded in 2008, Naf Naf Grill currently has 13 locations in the greater Chicago area, and has received critical acclaim for its terrific cuisine. Naf Naf Grill’s menu offers high quality, fresh and authentic ingredients. Core protein options of slow roasted steak or chicken Shawarma are offered in a pita-based sandwich format, as well as in a rice or salad bowl, and the Company’s award-winning pitas are baked fresh on-site daily. Customers can customize their pita or bowl with a delicious array of freshly prepared salads and sauces.
David Sloan, Founder and Co-CEO, stated, “We chose Roark as an investor for their deep experience with growing restaurant concepts, their operational focus, extensive resources and collaborative approach. Roark is our ideal partner, and together we will achieve Naf Naf Grill’s mission to become the leading authentic Middle-Eastern fast casual brand in the industry.”
Sahar Sander, Founder and Co-CEO, added, “Roark understood our culture and brand, and shares our passion for authentic, high quality cuisine. They approach investments with a long-term perspective and have a distinguished track record of supporting management teams in fulfilling their visions. We are proud of what we achieved to date, but we believe a partnership with Roark will help us reach new heights.”
As part of the transaction, restaurant industry veterans Gary Beisler and George Condos will join Naf Naf Grill’s Board. Beisler most recently served as CEO for Qdoba Mexican Grill, growing the brand from seven units to 650 between 1998 and 2013. Condos retired this April as the President and COO of Arby’s, where he helped lead the re-positioning and resurgence of the brand.
Ezra Field, Managing Director of Roark Capital, added, “We are excited to partner with David Sloan and Sahar Sander, Naf Naf Grill’sFounders, to help them grow it into the world’s leading authentic Middle-Eastern fast-casual restaurant concept. We love its fresh, authentic food, and the team’s passion for their brand, culture and customers.”
Neal Aronson, Founder and Managing Partner of Roark Capital added, “Naf Naf has talented and passionate founders, a highly differentiated brand, and tremendous long term growth potential. It is the first of a number of emerging brands we hope to invest in.”
About Roark Capital Group
Roark focuses on consumer and business service companies, with a specialization around franchised and multi-unit business models in the retail, restaurant, consumer and business services sectors. Since inception, Roark has acquired 45 franchise/multi-unit brands, which have generated $17 billion in annual system revenues from 20,000 locations in 50 states and 75 countries. Roark’s current brands include Anytime Fitness, Arby’s, Atkins Nutritionals, Batteries Plus Bulbs, CKE Restaurants (the owner of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s), Corner Bakery, Driven Brands (the owner of MAACO®, Meineke Car Care Centers®, Merlin 200,000 Mile Shops, Pro Oil Change, and Econo Lube & Tune 1-800-Radiator), FOCUS Brands (the owner of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Carvel Ice Cream, Cinnabon, McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Schlotzsky’s), Il Fornaio, Massage Envy, Miller’s Ale House, Money Mailer, Pet Valu, Primrose Schools, Waxing the City, and Wingstop. For more information, please visit www.roarkcapital.com.
About Naf Naf Grill
Naf Naf Grill was founded in 2008 by Sahar Sander, Elan Burger, David Sloan, and Justin Halpenny and is the premium destination for fresh, authentic Middle Eastern food. Oven baked pitas, hand cut salads, and freshly prepared sauces all served as an accompaniment to award-winning shawarma and falafel. Naf Naf is a fast casual format with 13 units open and 4 more under development. Naf Naf has received critical acclaim in its home market of Chicago and have new restaurants under development in Minneapolis and Madison, WI.From the most humble of beginnings to a high-growth restaurant company in a few years, the company is guided by an idea they now fondly call The Naf Love. For more information, please visit www.nafnafgrill.com.