Almost a month after the Cheesecake Factory painted a bleak financial picture, the private equity firm behind Buffalo Wild Wings, Jamba Juice, and Arby’s announced that it has purchased $200 million in shares from the chain. The Cheesecake Factory drew national attention in late March when Eater LA obtained a letter from CEO David Overton to the chain’s numerous landlords in which he stated that the Cheesecake Factory would not pay rents due on April 1 at various properties across the country.
According to Restaurant Business Online and a company news release, the Atlanta-based Roark Capital Group has “long admired” the Cheesecake Factory. The chain’s shares leapt 9.7 percent in premarket trading after reports of the investment hit, MarketWatch reports.
The move could serve as a fiscal life preserver for the California-based company, which also runs several affiliated restaurants including North Italia and Rock Sugar Southeast Asian Kitchen. The Cheesecake Factory has many Chicago-area restaurants, including a downtown location at the John Hancock Center and suburban restaurants in Skokie, Oak Brook, Lincolnshire, and Schaumburg. Rock Sugar opened its second ever location in suburban Oak Brook but closed after around two years.
One of the largest restaurant employers in the country, the Cheesecake Factory has furloughed around 41,000 employees and pivoted some locations toward delivery and pickup orders due to the pandemic and resulting closure orders. Prior to the shutdown, it operated 294 restaurants in 39 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and Canada.
As part of the deal, the chain will add a seat to its board for Roark president Paul Ginsberg. Roark’s assets include Jamba Juice, Cinnabon, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Auntie Anne’s.