Culvers restaurant
Culver's is a quick-service restaurant with more than 600 units in 24 states.

PRAIRIE DU SAC, WIS. — Roark Capital Group has acquired a minority interest in Culver Franchising System, Inc., a quick-service restaurant company with more than 600 units in 24 states. The Culver family will maintain a majority ownership.

Culver’s is known for its signature ButterBurger and frozen custard. Craig and Lea Culver opened the first Culver’s restaurant in Sauk City, Wis., in 1984.

Craig Culver, Culver's
Craig Culver, co-founder of Culver's

“For many years the Culver family has been discussing ownership succession planning with the desire to remain a family-owned business, stay privately held and proceed with thoughtful estate planning,” Mr. Culver said. “The sale of a minority interest in the company allows us to do so. We want to make sure we set up the next generation of the Culver’s family and the entire franchised system for success.”

Based in Atlanta, Roark specializes in franchised and multi-unit business models in retail, restaurant and consumer services sectors. The private equity firm’s portfolio companies include Arby’s, CKE Restaurants, Corner Bakery, Jimmy John’s and Focus Brands, the owner of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Cinnabon, Carvel Ice Cream and Schlotzsky’s, among others.

Erik Morris, Roark Capital
Erik Morris, senior managing director of Roark Capital

“We have long admired the Culver’s brand and its commitment to culture, quality and service,” said Erik Morris, senior managing director of Roark. “We are excited to be partnering with the Culver family and management team, and look forward to supporting the brand’s continued success.”

As part of the agreement, Roark will have representation on Culver’s board of directors, and Mr. Culver will remain chairman of the board. Joseph Koss, president and chief executive officer of Culver’s, and the management team will continue in their current roles.

Joseph Koss, Culver's
Joseph Koss, president and c.e.o. of Culver’s
“We will continue to operate the business similar to how we do today and are excited to have the ability to tap into Roark’s knowledge base to build and enhance future capabilities as we continue to grow and develop future strategic priorities,” Mr. Koss said. “This partnership will complement the long-term growth of the franchise community and C.F.S.I. as a whole.”