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Independent Franchisee Association Supports Qdoba Acquisition

The independent association of Qdoba restaurant owners today announced endorsement of the purchase of Qdoba Restaurant Corp. by private equity firm Apollo Global Management [NYSE:APO] for approximately $305 million. The transaction is expected to be finalized in April 2018.

“We have watched this discussion closely, and we believe this decision will foster hope and excitement, along with growth potential, among the franchisee community,” said Ron Stokes, chairman of the Qdoba Franchisee Association. Stokes himself owns 56 Qdoba restaurants. Qdoba franchisees formed their independent association just six months ago to look out for their restaurant ownership and stakeholder interests in the Qdoba system.

With 726 outlets, the Qdoba chain is nearly a 50-50 mix, with 53 percent of the system being company-owned restaurants and the rest franchised. While its sister system of Jack in the Box has flattened in the number of its outlets, younger Qdoba has managed to grow its casual dining restaurants. Qdoba’s franchises have grown in number since 2013, with a one year stumble in 2016 (see chart). Qdoba’s company outlets have grown each year in count since 2013.
The franchisee association stated that it was excited to work with such a diverse company as Apollo Global Management. Best known for buyouts of distressed firms, Apollo owns such franchisors as GNC, Century 21 and Rent-A-Center.

“We look forward to a collaborative partnership and are optimistic about the opportunities available through the international company,” Stokes said. “Within the fast casual industry, Qdoba stands out for its commitment to quality and to our guests. This decision will strengthen our dedication to deliver the same great experience our guests have come to expect.”

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Don Sniegowski is editor of Blue MauMau, the daily news journal for franchise & small business owners. Call him at +1 (270) 321-1268, tweet @bluemaumau or email