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Date: 6/10/2009
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Preparing for an Economic Up Tick: Top Performing Franchises Hold 2nd Annual Summit. Roark Capital Group’s Portfolio of Franchises See Light at End of Tunnel, Share Best Practices.

Preparing for an Economic Up Tick: Top Performing Franchises Hold 2nd Annual Summit.
Roark Capital Group’s Portfolio of Franchises See Light at End of Tunnel, Share Best Practices.

Atlanta, GA (June 10, 2009) – Roark Capital Group, a private equity firm that owns 14 franchise companies with a collective $3 billion in system-wide revenues, gave executives of its portfolio companies a rare opportunity to share best practices in Atlanta at the annual franchise summit themed  “Leading in Challenging Times.”

In all, nearly 100 C-level and other executives from Roark-owned companies were in attendance, including food franchises, Cinnabon, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Carvel, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Schlotsky’s, and McAllister’s Deli along with direct mail franchise Money Mailer, retail batteries store franchise Batteries Plus, child care franchise Primrose Schools and sign franchise FASTSIGNS,

Collectively, the 14 Roark-owned franchise brands have more than 13,000 points of distribution and 2,500 franchisees across 50 states and 33 countries.

High-powered discussions centered around strategies that are helping the franchise companies buck economic trends, as well as ways they can leverage collective buying power to reduce purchasing expenses. CEOs also shared inside insights about motivating employees in a down-economy, creative approaches to gain new market share and ways to prepare for the eventual upturn in the economy.

“We thought about the environment that our companies are operating in right now and we put together an actionable and timely program for them,” said Steve Romaniello, a Managing Director who specializes in franchise acquisitions at Roark Capital. “We’re readying our companies for the inevitable upturn in the economy. As the demand cycle takes a turn for the better, our companies our going to come out of the chute prepared to operate their companies at an even higher level,” noted Romaniello, who also serves as Chairman of FOCUS Brands, the franchisor and operator of nearly 2,200 ice cream franchise stores, bakery franchises, restaurant franchises, and cafés.

Executives shared cost-cutting and revenue-driving strategies that have helped their franchisees and their brands manage the current economic climate, including:

·         Reducing real-estate costs with smaller footprints and re-negotiating leases for franchisees;
·         Incentives to attract new franchise prospects;
·         Creation of field marketing specialists to help support franchisees in their local markets;
·         Re-allocation of resources to focus on the most profitable areas of the company;
·         Training staff to better recognize warning signs of struggling franchisees;
·         Motivating franchisees and top performing associates;
·         Increasing corporate revenue streams through non traditional methods; and
·         Focusing on successful franchise owners and making them “brand champions” to motivate other franchisees in the system.

The highly-focused crowd also heard a riveting speech from Sid Feltenstein, the former chairman of Sagittarius Brands, which owns and operates food franchises Captain D’s and Del Taco, and the former International Franchise Association chairman. Next, Joleen Goronkin, president of People and Performance Strategies, engaged the attendees in a powerful, interactive program focused on leadership and management in challenging times.

Neal Aronson, founder and Managing Partner of Roark Capital, addressed the group at the closing session. “A significant perk of being a part of the Roark Capital family of franchise companies is the ability to share problem-solving techniques and success strategies,” Aronson said. “You can leverage each other’s best practices and borrow and share programs instead of re-inventing the wheel every time.” 

About Roark Capital Group
Roark Capital Group is an Atlanta-based private equity firm that specializes in business and consumer service companies with attractive growth prospects and revenues ranging from $20 million to $1 billion Roark Capital has previously acquired 14 franchise / multi-unit franchise brands that collectively have more than 13,000 points of distribution, 2,500 franchisees, and $3 billion in system-wide revenues across 50 states and 33 countries. Its franchise portfolio includes such well known brands as Carvel, Cinnabon, Schlotzky’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Seattle’s Best Coffee International, McAlister’s Deli, Money Mailer, Fast Signs and Batteries Plus. Most recently, Roark Capital Group acquired Primrose Schools, the nation’s leader in educational child care franchise, with more than 200 schools in 15 states. The firm has more than $1.5 billion of equity capital under management.