Last week, IHOP teased plans to change its name. On Monday, the company actually did it.
Goodbye, International House of Pancakes. Hello, International House of Burgers.
Instead of breakfast, the company is focusing on beef—for now, at least. The name change is only temporary, as a way to promote the company's new line of burgers.
Publicity stunt? Sure. But if the amount of uproar on social media was any indication, it was a publicity stunt with the desired effect.
That could mean good things for Argonne Capital Group, the private equity firm that's backed IHOP since 2007, when it acquired the assets and operations of 148 of the restaurant's franchised locations. Four years later, Argonne acquired the rights of more IHOP restaurants along with a stake in several Applebee's locations. While IHOP and Applebee's are both owned by the publicly traded Dine Brands imprint, the restaurants' franchises are privately held.
Investing in restaurants and other franchised businesses is Argonne's bread and butter. Just last month, the firm raised $530 million from institutional investors to pump into its existing portfolio companies through a new vehicle called Argonne Capital Partners I. Besides IHOP and Applebee's, here's a rundown of some of the firm's other well-known investments:
KrystalFounded in 1932, Krystal either franchises or operates more than 360 fast-food restaurants throughout the US South, with a particular presence in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. Argonne bought the seller of hamburgers, wings and other American-style fare in 2012.
On The BorderArgonne completed its takeover of On The Border in 2014, buying the operator of Tex-Mex restaurants from Golden Gate Capital. Argonne partnered with Fortress on the transaction. Founded in Dallas in 1982, the company now operates some 150 locations.
Planet FitnessIt's not all food and beverage at Argonne: The firm also invests in other franchised business models, including Planet Fitness, which operates more than 1,100 clubs across the US. An affiliate of Argonne acquired the rights to a dozen locations in North Carolina last year, more than doubling the number of Planet Fitness franchises in its portfolio.
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