The Sad Decline Of Macaroni Grill
Jonathan Maze | Oct 19, 2017
This post is part of the;On the Margin blog.
The decline of Romanos Macaroni Grill has been so spectacular it sent two companies into bankruptcy protection.;
The story of Mac Grill is in many respects the story of the decline in casual dining. For years, the Italian chain had been a popular concept, sort of a next generation Olive Garden.
But, with sales weakening, then-owner Brinker International put it on the market. In August of 2008 it had a deal to sell 80 percent of the chain to Golden Gate Capital for $131.5 million. Mac Grill;had about 230 locations at the time.;
Shortly thereafter, Lehman Brothers collapsed, the U.S. economy collapsed with it, and for a time so did the restaurant business and the sale. Ultimately, Golden Gate bought 80 percent of Mac Grill for a renegotiated price of $88 million.
Golden Gate and Brinker unloaded the chain five years later, in 2013, selling it to Ignite Restaurant Group for $55 million. The private equity firm, for what its worth, profited off the deal despite the decline in price.
Ignite, owner of Joes Crab Shack, spent the next two years furiously working to fix its newly acquired, 210-unit concept.
It didnt work. Sales only worsened. Ultimately, Ignite sold Mac Grill to RedRock Partners LLC for the unseemly price of $8 million just two years later.
That 2013 Mac Grill acquisition literally destroyed Ignite.
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Capitalizing On Organic Growth Drivers
Aside from acquisitions, the company plans to grow both its existing brands organically. For Macaroni Grill, the company is exploring asset light models through licensing and building its international footprint, Machado said. It plans to do licensing for beverage and ready-to-eat groceries this year, for example, he said.
The company also found a lot of white space opportunities for Sullivans and is targeting A-locations in tier-B markets. So instead of targeting Chicago, it has a location in the suburb of Naperville, Illinois, which coincides with the company branding of being a neighborhood steakhouse, he said.;
Machado expects to build more units in these markets going forward while also entering the international space. It signed its first franchisee agreement in Asia and is entering the Philippines, which it views as a way to get a foot in the door for the Asian region.
Growing within the airport space will also be an important aspect for both Macaroni Grill and Sullivan’s Steakhouse in 2020, he said.
Going forward, the company’s focus will be on leveraging its core asset, Macaroni Grill, while growing Sullivan’s and making strategic acquisitions that build on its existing platform, he said.;
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Macaroni Grill Plans To Stay Open After Bankruptcy
Macaroni Grill closed 37 restaurants in 2017, but it wasn’t enough.
Debt grew and sales fell, while costs for labor and commodities increased,; leaving the Italian dining chain $12 million behind by August.
The situation isn’t unique among the U.S. casual restaurant sector, which increasingly shows stress.; Ruby Tuesday, Applebees and Outback all have announced closings.
“The preferences of … customers have shifted to cheaper, faster alternatives,” said Nichant Machado, president and CEO of MAC Acquisitions and the other companies behind Macaroni Grill.
Machado made the statement in the bankruptcy filing for Macaroni Grill, made in mid-October in Delaware.
The company seeks to reorganize by shedding debt and moving ahead in a changing world for casual dining. It wants to retain its 93 corporate stores, along with 23 franchise stores.
Among them are four in Michigan, all in Metro Detroit: Auburn Hills, Ann Arbor, Livonia and Shelby Township.
The closings ahead of the bankruptcy only affected one Macaroni Grill in Michigan: It was located at 5525 28th Street near Grand Rapids.
That Grand Rapids property is among 37 restaurant leases that the bankruptcy judge already let the chain reject as it sheds debt. Landlords of those properties include some of the biggest shopping center owners in the U.S., like Simon, Brixmoor and CBL.
The bankruptcy follows an evaluation by consultants Mackinac Partners. Machado is a senior managing partner of the firm.
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Macaroni Grill Eyes 2nd Acquisition
The once struggling company hopes to close on another purchase in Q1, one that could bring it halfway to its goal of becoming a $1 billion business, says CEO Nishant Machado.
ORLANDO, Florida ;Romano’s Macaroni Grill could soon have a third brand under its platform. The company has an acquisition in the works that could close by the end of the first quarter if all goes well, CEO Nishant Machado told Restaurant Dive on Tuesday during the ICR Conference.;
“I think we have the potential to be a $1 billion company based on the infrastructure and team we have built,”;he said. “Getting this acquisition done gets us half the way there, potentially.”
This is a far cry from where the brand stood in 2017, when Machado took over as CEO. The company was emerging from bankruptcy;and closed 37 units after several years of same-store sales declines. His challenge was to develop a turnaround strategy.;
The company put together a team that was better equipped to think through potential acquisitions;and the value it could bring to the brand.;In 2018, Macaroni Grill grew same-stores sales after years of negative comps and acquired Sullivans Steakhouse from Del Friscos for $32 million.;
The potential acquisition for this quarter would be a transformational brand that is performing well within the full-service space and will fit with Macaroni Grill and Sullivan’s, Machado said.;
Is Macaroni Grill Still In Business
Macaroni Grill files for bankruptcy protection. Romano’s Macaroni Grill filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday amid store closures and a restructuring of the casual-dining chain’s operations. The Denver-based chain recently closed 37 locations, prompting lawsuits by some of the company’s landlords.
how many Macaroni Grill locations are there? 88
Also asked, who owns Macaroni Grill now?
Redrock Partners, LLC
Is Macaroni Grill owned by Brinker?
Brinker International owns, operates, and franchises the Chili’s Grill& Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant concepts. They also have a minority stake in Mac Acquisition LLC, the owners of Romano’s Macaroni Grill as of 2008.
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Born In The Metaverse: Will Rtfkts New Avatar Project Be The Next Big Thing In Nfts And Fashion
There have been many business press discussions around the issue of share buybacks, both pro and con. But, share buybacks cannot be possible without the money to pay for the buybacks. As John Plender wrote for Financial Times, was most striking in the US where corporate debt rose from $3.3 trillion before the 2008 financial crisis to $6.5 trillion in 2019. A big driver behind this accumulation of corporate debt has been the share buyback phenomenon.
The financial virus of accumulating corporate debt is truly insidious, killing our favorite brands. That debt becomes part of a vicious vortex from which it is difficult for a brand-business to extract itself.
For example, there is the sad story of Romanos Macaroni Grill. If you never ate at a Romanos Macaroni Grill, it is one of those restaurants offering family size portions of basic, flavorful Italian food served in an inviting convivial environment a bit more boisterous than Olive Garden. Romanos Macaroni Grill was the epitome of abbondanza abundance. Romanos Macaroni Grill was bought and sold four times since its start in 1988, three sales in a 9-year period. Three of its past four owners were private equity firms looking to make fast money on their investments.
If Romanos Macaroni Grill were going to decline as a brand at least let it be because the brand could not compete or the brand lost its relevancy. But no, it was decimated because of debt brought on by financial aggressors.
Does Mcdonalds Own Brands
The McDonalds Corporation has owned a few other companies. McDonalds acquired Boston Chicken, now known as Boston Market, in 2000, but sold the chain to Sun Capital Partners in 2007. Seed Restaurant Group and McDonalds had a joint venture for Fazolis restaurants, but the joint venture was dissolved in 2003.
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Romanos Macaroni Grill Is Latest Annapolis Restaurant Casualty
We have learned that in addition to The Greene Turtle, Romanos Macaroni Grill will also not be re-opening once the all-clear is given by Governor Hogan as Maryland emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The closure was confirmed by management of the Franconia location in the Kingstowne Towne Center and the Annapolis location has been scrubbed from the chains website.
The location at the Annapolis Mall had been declining in popularity.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we confirmed with the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation that the location was planning to close and be replaced by a brew pub concept.
We reached out to Redrock Partners, the owners of the chain for comment, but our calls were not immediately returned.
Over the past years, the Annapolis area has seen a lot of change in the restaurant scene with Chuys; and Newks both coming and going, The Greene Turtle closing and redeveloping with a wine focus, the closure of The Ebb Tide, Boston Market, Chop House, Bonefish Grill, Brio Tuscan Grill, and several Subways.
Here Are Some Metro Detroit Businesses That Closed In 2020
A year unlike any other. A once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. The “new normal.” Whatever the description of 2020, the novel coronavirus upended what feels like every corner of life.
And in a year of great loss, businesses were no exception. Restaurants and retailers saw a dive in foot traffic and;less revenue. They had to quickly make safety adjustments in a health crisis. Some were able to stay afloat, while others were forced to shutter.;
Here are some metro Detroit businesses that closed this year:;
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Jf Hasenfuss Cafe At The Corner Of Congress And Federal Streets In Saratoga Springs Chefs From The Grand Union Hotel Relax In Front Of The Cafe In This Circa 1900 Photo
Because now is the perfect time to open a restaurant, go ahead and follow your dreams by snatching up the former Romanos Macaroni Grill building on Wolf Road in Colonie. Available for sublease through November 2022, the 8,100-square-foot building is being;listed for $24 per square foot, which works out to about $16,300 per month.
I dont know the prevailing rate for Wolf Road restaurant space. The few leases with terms of which Im aware are for less, but other owners have told me they can be in the $30-per-square-foot range along chain-heavy Wolf Road.
Open locally since Nov. 13, 1997, Macaroni Grill went into a significantly overhauled building that previously was home to Chi-Chis and Beefsteak Charlies restaurants, at Wolf and Metro Park roads. The restaurant;closed abruptly in mid-March.
Founded in Texas 1988 by Phil Romano, who also launched Fuddruckers,; Macaroni Grill is headquartered in Denver and is owned by a holding company that in the last five years has closed approximately 90 locations. There are now about 50 in 17 states. The only other New York location, in Rochester, has also closed since the coronavirus shutdown began
Macaroni Grill Files For Bankruptcy Protection
Jonathan Maze | Oct 19, 2017
Romanos Macaroni Grill filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday amid store closures and a restructuring of the casual-dining chain’s operations.;
The Denver-based chain recently closed 37 locations, prompting lawsuits by some of the companys landlords.
According to a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, many of the companys landlords are seeking to recover damages far in excess of anything they would be entitled to under bankruptcy.
Macaroni Grill has 93 company-owned locations and franchises another 23 units.
The company said in its filing that it has $23 million in secured debt and had negative earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $12 million on revenues of $230 million.
Arizona-based RedRock Partners LLC owns Macaroni Grill, which it acquired from Ignite Restaurant Group Inc. in 2015 for $8 million.
In its filing, Macaroni Grill cited a decrease in sales and an increase in labor and commodity costs, which hurt profits.
Nishant Machado, the companys acting CEO, blamed the chains problems on an overall downturn for the casual dining industry, including a preference of customers toward cheaper, faster alternatives.
He also cited a trend among younger customers to spend their disposable income at non-chain experience-driven restaurants.
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How Macaroni Grill Invested In Its Employees To Revitalize Its Brand
Fast food restaurants have a 150% turnover rate right now.
Casual dining chains dont have it much better, and everyone in the restaurant industry is buzzing about how fast things are changing, how to keep struggling businesses afloat, and how to keep hourly employees from leaving in an economy where unhappy workers can have their pick of jobs.
Not too long ago, Romanos Macaroni Grill was experiencing a similar crisis. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2017. But if you fast forward to now, the brand is back to financial solvency and has started acquiring other restaurant companies.
How did it happen?
The answer is simple: The new CEO invested in his people.
I spoke with Nishant Machado about the simple solutions hes implemented, and am frankly amazed that more businesses havent come to the same conclusions he has:
Hows everything going at Macaroni Grill?
So, tell me about where the company was when you stepped in as CEO?
Sure, so when I stepped in the companys margins had declined significantly. We had unprofitable stores, and we really didnt have a very clear vision and strategy. My role with the management team was to understand the strengths of the brand and how we could leverage those strengths to reverse these negative trends. We inherited an incredible brand with significant potential that had lost its way over the years, and our goal was to put it back on track.
In respect to restaurant labor, what changes did you make?
A Financial Virus Is Killing Our Favorite Brands
The coronavirus is deadly. It has changed the way we live. COVID-19 is also a catalyst for the demise of some brands. They will not survive. These brands could have made it through the pandemic if it were not for the brand-busting debt burdens generated by excessive debt accumulation. Excessive debt has turned out to be a financial virus that has drained the life out of brands we know and love.
Debt accumulation is deadly for brands. Brands thrive on renovation and innovation based on addressing customer needs and problems. Brands need compelling actionable insights generated via reliable market research and creative synthesis of multiple sources of data. Brands need talent reflecting a diversity of thinking. All of this costs money. But if revenues are needed to pay interest on debt or to pay down debt, the money will not be there for brands to remain relevant and differentiated. Increasing to fund dividends and share buybacks are monies that are siphoned off from building strong brands into the hands of shareholders.
Is this just bad management? Is it just a balance sheet riddled with financial finagling? Why does this matter?
This matters a great deal. When we emerge from our homes, we want the world we find to be some semblance of familiarity. We want to turn to brands that we trust. But, the debt plague inflicted on our favorite brands is depleting our present and future world of familiar brands.
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Romanos Macaroni Grill Emerges From Chapter 11 Protection
DENVER—-Romanos Macaroni Grill, the award winning Italian casual dining chain, today announced its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Romanos Macaroni Grill has been a pioneer in the space and has successfully leveraged the court administered restructuring process to shed legacy liabilities and significantly strengthen the Company, amid industry headwinds.
The Company filed for Chapter 11 protection on October 18, 2017 and emerged from bankruptcy on February 15, 2018. The Company successfully renegotiated lease terms, vendor contracts and secured $13.5MM in new capital to both fund the restructuring efforts and invest directly in the Company in the form of human capital and systems.
Macaroni Grill is without a doubt one of the premier Italian dining options in the industry. The Company has forged the path for Italian dining with ingredients coming straight from Italy and an environment that is focused on genuine hospitality and generosity. Through the restructuring and turnaround process, the Company has firmly re-established itself and the results have been tremendous, which is a testament to the brand, our team and our loyal guests, said Nishant Machado of Mackinac Partners who serves as CRO and CEO of Macaroni Grill.
Romanos Macaroni Grill is focused on the future and on continuing to exceed guests expectations with its award-winning food and dedication to hospitality.
About Romanos Macaroni Grill®
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Macaroni Grill Sacramento Ca United States
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I visited the restaurant in ElkGrove ….i use to be a loyal customer …..i stopped eating here just came back and had a Great experience with your new;more
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Haven’t been here in years and decided on a day early Father’s Day dinner at the request of my pasta loving husband. Carrie was our server and she was on;more
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I’ve been coming here for quite awhile and it never disappoints. Daniel is always a great server, very attentive and nice. If we ever need anything else the;more
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Raquel and Caraline were the best.! Super attentive and friendly. Food and service were great.;more
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families bring their children than say an “Olive Garden” or “MacaroniGrill”. Its also a place;more
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not PC and super classic. It was cool, but overall a very medium experience, I still prefer macaronigrill more.;more
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Waitlist opens at 4:00 pm
establishment, give Mamma a shot. Your taste buds, digestive tract, and karma will be far better off than if you went to MacaroniGrill or the Olive Dump.;more