US fast casual restaurant chain Cafe Rio acquired by Freeman Spogli


Restaurant industry news : Los Angeles-based private equity firm Freeman Spogli & Co has acquired a majority stake in Utah-headquartered US fast casual restaurant chain Cafe Rio Mexican Grill.

Neither the stake nor the acquisition amount was disclosed by the concerned parties.

However, Café Rio will be continued to be led by its existing management team which will also hold a considerable equity stake in the US fast casual restaurant chain.

Freeman Spogli & Co bought the stake from investment firm KarpReilly which invested in the US fast casual restaurant chain thirteen years ago.

Cafe Rio fast casual restaurant in Peoria, Arizona

Cafe Rio fast casual restaurant in Peoria, Arizona. Photo courtesy of Cafe Rio.

Talking about Café Rio acquisition, Christian Johnson, a Partner at Freeman Spogli said: “Cafe Rio is a differentiated restaurant concept with a focus on serving craveable food that is 100% made-from-scratch.

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“The company’s unwavering commitment to food quality and customer service have engendered an extremely loyal customer following, which has led to strong financial results and an impressive track record of consistent growth.

“We are excited to partner with Dave Gagnon, Steve Vaughan and the management team at Cafe Rio as the company enters its next phase of growth.”

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Cafe Rio, which was founded in 1997, runs more than 100 fast casual restaurants across eleven states in the United States, mainly in the western part of the country.

KarpReilly’s co-founder Allan Karp said that Café Rio has grown from six restaurants in Utah to over 100 fast casual restaurants during the company’s ownership which began in 2004.

The US fast casual restaurant chain which is headquartered in Salt Lake City, serves burritos, tortillas, salads, tacos among other Mexican dishes at its locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, Maryland, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming.

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Cafe Rio Chief Executive Officer Dave Gagnon commenting on the Café Rio acquisition by Freeman Spogli & Co said: “We are very pleased to be working with Freeman Spogli as we embark on this next chapter for the company.

“We are incredibly proud of the culture we have built during our partnership with KarpReilly, and believe it provides us with a strong foundation for future growth.

“Through our new partnership with Freeman Spogli, we will be able to leverage their team’s extensive experience growing restaurant concepts as we look to expand Cafe Rio in both existing and new markets.”

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