Atlanta, GA – May 30, 2012 – Summit Restaurant Group, LLC, (“Summit Restaurant Group”) the largest IHOP franchisee in the country with 254 restaurants, and franchisee of 48 Applebee’s restaurants in Atlanta, GA and San Antonio, TX, announced today that an affiliate company, Neighborhood Restaurant Partners Florida, LLC (“Neighborhood Restaurant Partners”), has acquired the assets and development rights of Casual Restaurant Concepts, Inc and CRC II, LLC (“CRC”). Based in Tampa, FL, CRC owned and operated 50 Applebee’s restaurants in the Tampa and Orlando FL markets. Summit Restaurant Group and Neighborhood Restaurant Partners are both affiliates of Argonne Capital Group, LLC, (“Argonne”) a private investment firm based in Atlanta, GA. This acquisition raises Argonne’s combined holdings of Applebee’s and IHOP restaurants to 352 units. The parent company and franchisor of Applebee’s and IHOP is DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE: DIN), based in Glendale, CA.
“We are pleased to invest again in the strong Applebee’s brand and expand our total portfolio of successful DineEquity franchises,” said Michael Klump, founder and President of Argonne. “Casual Restaurant Concepts and its leader, Franklin Carson, are stellar operators and we look forward to extending their proud legacy even further by maximizing the potential of these existing Applebee’s restaurants and developing additional locations.”
The 50 restaurants purchased from CRC will join 40 Applebee’s restaurants located in Atlanta, GA and the surrounding area, that were acquired last year from Applebee’s founder, Bill Palmer, and 8 previously acquired Applebee’s restaurants in San Antonio, TX. Mr. Klump noted that the latest acquisition delivers additional synergies to Argonne’s Applebee’s and IHOP holdings across the Southeastern United States.
Franklin Carson, President and founder of CRC, said: “The team at Casual Restaurant Concepts has been my family for over 20 years. They have been consistently committed to the standards of hospitality that allowed us to become one of the most successful members of the Applebee’s system. I am delighted that my team will stay together under the stewardship of Summit Restaurant Group and I look forward to applauding their continued success.” Bill Palmer, Applebee’s Founder and Summit Restaurant Group Vice Chairman added: “I hired Franklin to lead company and franchise operations back in 1984. Over his more than 28 years with this brand, Franklin’s contributions have been tremendous. His leadership and commitment have left an indelible mark on this brand.”
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DineEquity’s Chairman & CEO, Julia Stewart, said: “Today’s news is further affirmation of the strength of Applebee’s and our franchisees. Franklin Carson is a recognized and admired icon within our franchise family and his contributions to Applebee’s are exemplary. Moreover we are excited to witness Argonne Capital further strengthen its position as a highly respected franchisee in the DineEquity system. Both Franklin and Argonne represent the power of DineEquity’s franchisee base, and we salute Franklin for his invaluable service and Argonne as they grow their investment in our brands.”
About Argonne Capital Group, LLC
Argonne Capital Group, LLC, is a private investment firm based in Atlanta, GA that makes public and private equity investments. Argonne’s principals and Board of Advisors are made up of experienced retail, restaurant and real estate professionals. Argonne’s restaurant portfolio companies include Stevi B’s Pizza Buffet and Krystal as well as Summit Restaurant Group which together generate annual sales in excess of $1 billion. The firm is aggressively seeking multi-unit acquisition opportunities in the retail and restaurant industries. Argonne seeks to work with existing or identified management teams to acquire majority interests in cash flow positive companies. If you would like more information about Argonne, please visit www.argonnecapital.com
About DineEquity, Inc.
Based in Glendale, CA, DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE: DIN), through its subsidiaries, franchises and operates restaurants under the Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP brands. With more than 3,500 restaurants combined in 18 countries, over 400 franchisees and approximately 200,000 team members (including employees at franchisee- and company-operated restaurants), DineEquity is one of the world’s largest full-service restaurant companies. For more information about the company, please visit www.dineequity.com