Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity firm, announced that a Roark affiliate has made a growth-equity investment in Chicago-based Naf Naf Grill. Naf Naf Grill is an emerging, on-trend fast casual concept serving high quality, authentic Middle Eastern cuisine in an Americanized format. This investment is Roark's 45th multi-unit company, 18th restaurant brand, and first emerging growth brand. Company Founders David Sloan and Sahar Sander will continue to lead Naf Naf Grill as Co-CEOs.
Founded in 2008, Naf Naf Grill currently has 13 locations in the greater Chicago area, and has received critical acclaim for its terrific cuisine. Naf Naf Grill's menu offers high quality, fresh and authentic ingredients. Core protein options of slow roasted steak or chicken Shawarma are offered in a pita-based sandwich format, as well as in a rice or salad bowl, and the Company's award-winning pitas are baked fresh on-site daily. Customers can customize their pita or bowl with a delicious array of freshly prepared salads and sauces.
David Sloan, Founder and Co-CEO, stated, "We chose Roark as an investor for their deep experience with growing restaurant concepts, their operational focus, extensive resources and collaborative approach. Roark is our ideal partner, and together we will achieve Naf Naf Grill's mission to become the leading authentic Middle-Eastern fast casual brand in the industry."
Sahar Sander, Founder and Co-CEO, added, "Roark understood our culture and brand, and shares our passion for authentic, high quality cuisine. They approach investments with a long-term perspective and have a distinguished track record of supporting management teams in fulfilling their visions. We are proud of what we achieved to date, but we believe a partnership with Roark will help us reach new heights."
As part of the transaction, restaurant industry veterans Gary Beisler and George Condos will join Naf Naf Grill's Board. Beisler most recently served as CEO for Qdoba Mexican Grill, growing the brand from seven units to 650 between 1998 and 2013. Condos retired this April as the President and COO of Arby's, where he helped lead the re-positioning and resurgence of the brand.