Cheesecake Factory To Complete North Italia Buy Out In 2019

Last week, executives from Cheesecake Factory Inc. announced they will complete their acquisition of the North Italia eatery chain in 2019.

The chain is being bought out from Phoenix-based Fox Restaurant Concepts.

“We begin to prepare for the potential North Italia acquisition in the second half of 2019 and ensuing increase in future unit growth rates with an expanded portfolio,” Matthew Clark, Cheesecake’s executive vice president and CFO, said on Oct. 30 conference call with investors. 

Cheesecake Factory made minority equity investments that totaled $42 million in 2016, with the money going to North Italia and Flower Child, both of which are owned by Fox Restaurant Concepts.

Since that investment two years ago, another $32 million have been put into the brands. Clark added that prior to acquisition, an additional $20 million and $25 million will be provided for expansion capital.

The initial plan outlined that Flower Child would become fully owned by Cheesecake Factory in 2021, but the financing of the acquisition is still to be determined.

“There is a couple of moving parts going into 2019, particularly around the North acquisition,” Clark said told investors. “We’re still firming up our plan with our board around the financing alternatives which could impact some of those pieces.”

With three North Italia eateries currently in the Phoenix area, there are a total of 14 locations across seven states with progress being made on seven future eateries. 

Some of the top-grossing restaurant brands have been sold off recently by Fox Restaurant Concepts, including True Food Kitchen and Sauce Pizza & Wine. 

Outside of North Italia and Flower Child, the company expanded the Henry, Culinary Dropout and Blanco Tacos & Tequila into new markets this year.

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