- Garnett Station Partners, a principal investment firm with about $2 billion in assets, has acquired and recapitalized Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, the company announced Monday. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- Firebirds, a polished-casual dining chain, has 56 locations across 20 states and was previously owned by J.H. Whitney Capital Partners, which bought the chain in January 2019.
- With capital from Garnett Station, Firebirds will continue to accelerate its growth and development, according to the press release.
Outside of Subway’s pursuit of a potential sale, M&A activity has been very slow this year — a trend that’s in line with analyst expectations as the price of capital has risen and availability of loans has declined.
This acquisition is unique, however, because it’s happening within casual dining, a segment that has not been of particular interest among buyers. QSRs, especially those that successfully navigated the COVID-19 pandemic with off-premise channels, have been key targets for acquisitions of late.
Firebirds has signaled growth potential with strong same-store sales gains and high average unit volumes. According to Technomic data, the chain’s sales volume was up 59% to $247 million in 2021, compared to $155 million in 2020, when the chain had about a 19% decline in sales.
The chain, which had already deployed online ordering in 2017 and partnered with DoorDash in 2018, was able to pivot quickly during the early days of the pandemic as it emphasized family meals. It also leaned into curbside and partnered with FlyBuy in 2022 to streamline the service.
The chain also offers a virtual brand, FireBurger, on DoorDash. In March 2022, the restaurant, which offers hand-cut-steaks, seafood and grilled vegetables cooked over a wood fired grill, expanded its menu with brunch offered Saturdays and Sundays.