This Bojangles doesn't dance in worn-out shoes, but it will cook some chicken for you. Bojangles' Holdings operates and franchises more than 520 quick-service eateries in North Carolina and about a dozen other states. Operating under the name Bojangles' Famous Chicken & Biscuits, the restaurants specialize in Cajun-style chicken and biscuits. The menu also includes sandwiches, chicken wings, and breakfast items. The chain includes more than 150 company-owned locations; the rest are operated by franchisees. Bojangles was founded in 1977 by former KFC president Richard Thomas and partner Jack Fulk. Private equity firm Advent International agreed to buy the chain from Falfurrias Capital Partners in 2011.
Like other franchising outfits, Bojangles' allows its local operators to use the brand name and other intellectual property in return for royalties and fees. Franchising allows the company to expand its chain without the cost of construction and operating expenses. Bojangles' large number of corporate-run units provides additional revenue while giving the company a base from which to make changes to its menu and marketing.
The company has benefited from growing consumer interest in alternatives to traditional burgers-and-fries menu items. That interest has also drawn many more competitors into the market, including McDonald's and other sandwich chains that have added a number of poultry items to their menus. The chicken segment of the fast-food business is dominated by giants such as KFC (owned by YUM! Brands), Popeyes (AFC Enterprises), and Church's Chicken (Cajun Operating Company). In the company's core Southeastern market, it also faces competition from Chick-fil-A and upstart Zaxby's.
With financing from Falfurrias Capital, Bojangles' has been focused on expanding its chain through both new corporate-owned locations and additional franchised outposts. Most of the company's expansion efforts have targeted areas within its existing market. Bojangles' is also investing in renovations and upgrades for many of its existing restaurants.
Charlotte, North Carolina-based Falfurrias Capital partnered with Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson to acquire Bojangles' from former CEO Joe Drury and his partners in 2007. Following the buyout, Bojangles' named restaurant industry veteran Randy Kibler as its new CEO. Kibler had previously helped develop the upstart Firehouse Subs chain (operated by Firehouse Restaurant Group). Before that, he served with Flagstar Companies (now Denny's), where he helped run the Hardee's hamburger chain (later sold to CKE Restaurants). – less