Centre buys buffet chains for $95.5m

The New York middle-market specialist, with major backing from Bregal Investments, takes private the owner of Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes.

Centre Partners Management today announced the completion of its privatisation of Garden Fresh Restaurant in a transaction valued at $95.5 million (€78 million).


Garden Fresh, based in Los Angeles, operates Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes, restaurant chains that offer buffet selections.


The deal was announced last October.


Members of the Garden Fresh management team will retain an equity stake in the company, according to a press release.


Garden Fresh operates 97 locations in 15 states and has roughly $220 million in annual revenue.


The press release noted that this deal marks Centre Partners’ seventh current investment in a Southern California company. Last year, the firm bought Bumble Bee Seafoods, based in San Diego.


In March, the firm achieved a partial exit for Bumble Bee when the seafood cannery was merged with Connors Brothers, a Canadian income fund built on a complementary seafood business.


Late last year, Centre Partners received a $600 million capital commitment from Bregal Investments, a private equity firm affiliated with Europe’s Brenninkmeijer family. Bregal also has committed significant capital to London-based Englefield Capital.