- Southpaw, an operator of Taco Bell and Dunkin’ restaurants, acquired 40 established Taco Bell locations in the Greater Atlanta market, the company said this week. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
- The franchisee now operates 115 Taco Bell units across five states. In total, the company owns 180 restaurants in eight states.
- Southpaw said this latest acquisition will help grow its Taco Bell network and add geographic diversity.
Southpaw, which acquired 34 Mid-Atlantic Taco Bell units in December 2021, plans to continue growing its portfolio with acquisitions and new store development. The company plans to build on strong performance at its Mid-Atlantic and Kentucky locations.
This latest acquisition will help the franchise operator grow its balance sheet to make additional investments. Southpaw has been operating Taco Bell locations for more than five years, said Judd Wishnow, Southpaw co-founder and CEO. The company’s restaurant portfolio has annual sales over $300 million.
“Our acquisition in Atlanta gives us a network of locations that we believe will benefit from our operating strategies and unique ability to capitalize on white space in the market for new development,” Wishnow said.
Despite challenges facing the QSR segment, franchisees have become active acquirers within the past few years.
At Subway, five franchisees took over ownership of 230 units earlier this year.
Sun Holdings gained a controlling interest in 90 Papa John’s units last year after the chain transferred its stake in a joint venture with Blue and Silver Ventures. Sun Holdings previously bolstered its portfolio with acquisitions of IHOP units and Applebee’s locations.
In 2021, Delight Restaurant Group acquired 54 Wendy’s units from NPC International.
Other operators have been buying whole brands. In December, YTG Enterprises, Jack in the Box’s largest franchisee, purchased a controlling interest in 48-unit fast casual brand Nick the Greek. It previously purchased Taco Cabana in 2021 for $85 million.