CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (March 21, 2012) – The Krystal Company today announced the sale of the 80-year-old hamburger chain to Argonne Capital Group, LLC (“Argonne”), a private investment firm based in Atlanta, GA, for an undisclosed amount. The company announced late last summer that Port Royal Holdings, the private investment group that bought the publicly traded company and took it private in 1997, had retained Piper Jaffray to market the potential sale of the Chattanooga-based chain.
“Finding the right owner, one that will continue to uphold the qualities of the Krystal brand that have made it a Southern icon, has been an important part of this transition,” said Krystal President and CEO Fred Exum. “Argonne recognizes the strength of the brand and with this purchase provides a foundation for the Krystal family of employees and franchisees to continue its expansion in serving our loyal customers.”
The Krystal Company has more than 7,000 employees, and owns and franchises a total of 364 restaurants in 11 states throughout the South. The quick-serve chain opened 10 new company-owned restaurants in 2011, and will continue with aggressive new store developments in 2012. The company’s headquarters will remain in Chattanooga, TN.
“We have watched with great interest as Krystal has continued to develop quality products, offer outstanding customer service, and maintain brand dominance through the recession,” said Michael Klump, Founder and President of Argonne. The Argonne team sees a great opportunity with this acquisition and is excited about adding The Krystal Company to its portfolio. Michael Klump and Karl Jaeger will be joined on the board by Stockton Croft, a continued advisor to Argonne, and Harsha Agadi, former President and CEO of Church’s Chicken.
The fast food icon made famous by small burgers with a big taste craved by millions throughout the South, finished 2011 with increased sales, an increase in per-transaction sales, and consistently outperformed the overall quick-serve restaurant (QSR) sandwich category in driving traffic last year. The company continues to experience growth in 2012.
The Krystal Company
The Krystal Company is well known for its signature menu item, the famous Krystal Burger, with its steamed-in onion flavor, which is always served hot and fresh. Founded in 1932, Krystal is a southern icon, known not only for its signature product, the Krystal Burger, but also for its hospitality and value. The Krystal brand – and the great food, service, value and setting that it represents – has a prominent place in the South’s cultural landscape. The Krystal Company is the oldest quick service restaurant chain in the South and the second oldest in the United States. For more information, please visit: http://krystal.com/.
Argonne Capital Group, LLC is a private investment firm, founded in 2003, based out of Atlanta, GA. Led by Michael Klump, Founder and President, and Karl Jaeger, Managing Director, the company focuses on the acquisition and growth of positive cash flow businesses primarily in the real estate, restaurant, and retail industries. Argonne’s portfolio of restaurant companies includes over 350 IHOP’s, Applebee’s, and Stevi B’s Pizza restaurants. With the acquisition of The Krystal Company, Argonne continues to be
Argonne Capital Group
significant investor in the restaurant industry, both as a franchisee and franchisor. For more information about Argonne, please visit: http://argonnecapital.com/.