Fuzzy’s Taco Shop Sells for $80M


Fuzzy's Taco Shop Sign | Image by Shutterstock

The parent company of Applebee’s and IHOP has acquired Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.

Dine Brands Global Inc. purchased Fuzzy’s for $80 million in an all-cash deal on December 5. Fuzzy’s was previously owned by Experiential Brands, a segment of the Atlanta-based private equity firm NRD Capital, according to ABC 8.

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, a Baja-inspired fast-casual Mexican restaurant, opened its first location in 2003 on Berry Street in Fort Worth and is currently headquartered in Irving.

“We had many options when evaluating the ideal partner to help accelerate the growth of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop,” said founder Mel Knight. “We selected NRD because of their operator-centric mentality, flexible capital, and unparalleled franchising experience.”

Fuzzy’s 138 restaurants expect to generate $230 million in revenue in 2022. The company currently operates in 18 states and expects to nearly double its current restaurant total over time, with 125 new units in the pipeline. Approximately 98% of Fuzzy’s stores are franchised.

Fuzzy’s initial franchise fee is $40,000 for a traditional restaurant and $30,000 for a Taqueria Restaurant, according to Franchise Chatter.

Dine Brands is currently valued at just over $1 billion, and the deal is expected to be a profitable addition to the new ownership.

The transaction was done to continue to accelerate the brand’s growth, according to CEO Paul Damico.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work the Fuzzy’s team and franchisees have accomplished over the past few years, which has enabled us to enter this new chapter of growth together with Dine Brands,” Damico said.

Dine Brands CEO John Peyton said he was blown away by his first experience at Fuzzy’s, according to FSR Magazine.

“When I went to my first Fuzzy’s a few months ago as part of this process, in Denver, I walked into the restaurant and had one of those moments of wow, this is different, and they’re onto something here.”

Peyton called Fuzzy’s a compelling business with a distinct identity and loyal customer base.

“It is an attractive asset with a tremendous growth trajectory and will be a complementary addition to our highly franchised portfolio,” Peyton said in a press release.

“And by having them take advantage of Dine’s infrastructure and scale and our tech platforms … Dine plus Fuzzy’s will really help Fuzzy’s accelerate its growth,” he explained.

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1 month ago

I’ve never heard of Fuzzy’s, and not sure I’d want to try it because the name reminds me of sweater lint. What I miss is Taco Palenque in the Rio Grande Valley. They’ve grown considerably over the past seven years—expanded as far north as Round Rock, the last I checked.