Krystal Sold To Argonne Capital Group

The 80-year-old burger company sold to private investment firm

Krystal Sold To Argonne Capital Group
Krystal Sold To Argonne Capital Group

Chattanooga, TN  (Restaurant News Release)  The Krystal Company (“Krystal”) today announced the sale of the 80-year-old hamburger chain to Argonne Capital Group, LLC (“Argonne”), a private investment firm based in Atlanta, Ga., for an undisclosed amount. Krystal announced late last summer that it had retained Piper Jaffray & Co. to market the Chattanooga-based chain for a potential sale.

“Finding the right owner, one that will continue to uphold the qualities of the Krystal brand that have made it a Southern icon, has been an important part of this transition,” said Krystal President and CEO Fred Exum. “Argonne recognizes the strength of the brand and provides a foundation for the Krystal family of employees and franchisees to continue its expansion by serving our loyal customers.”

The Krystal Company has more than 6,000 employees, and owns and franchises a total of 360 restaurants in 11 states throughout the South. The quick-serve chain opened 10 new company-owned restaurants this past year, and will continue with new store developments in 2012 and beyond. Officials also said the company’s headquarters will remain in Chattanooga, Tenn.

“We have watched with great interest as Krystal has continued to develop quality products, offer outstanding customer service, and maintain brand dominance through the recession,” said Michael Klump, Founder and President of Argonne.

The Argonne team sees a great opportunity with this acquisition and is excited about adding The Krystal Company to its portfolio. Krystal’s board will include Michael Klump and Karl Jaeger from Argonne who will be joined by Stockton Croft, a continued advisor to Argonne, and Harsha Agadi, former President and CEO of Church’s Chicken.

The fast food icon made famous by small burgers with a big taste craved by millions throughout the South, finished 2011 with increased sales, an increase in per-transaction sales, and consistently outperformed the overall quick-serve restaurant (QSR) sandwich category in driving traffic last year. The company continues to experience growth in 2012.

Piper Jaffray & Co. served as exclusive financial advisor to The Krystal Company in the transaction, and King & Spalding LLP served as its legal counsel.

The Krystal Company

The Krystal Company is well known for its signature menu item, the famous Krystal Burger, with its steamed-in onion flavor, which is always served hot and fresh. Founded in 1932, Krystal is a southern icon, known not only for its signature product, but also for its hospitality and value. The Krystal experience is one that virtually every man, woman and child raised in the South has shared. The Krystal brand – and the great food, service, value and setting that it represents – has a prominent place in the South’s cultural landscape. The Krystal Company is the oldest quick service restaurant chain in the South and the second oldest in the United States. For more information, visit

Argonne Capital Group

Argonne Capital Group, LLC is a private investment firm, founded in 2003, based in Atlanta, Ga. Led by Michael Klump, Founder and President, and Karl Jaeger, Managing Director, the company focuses on the acquisition and growth of positive cash flow businesses primarily in the real estate, restaurant, and retail industries. Argonne’s portfolio of restaurant companies includes more than 350 IHOP’s, Applebee’s and Stevi B’s Pizza restaurants. With the acquisition of The Krystal Company, Argonne continues to be a significant investor in the restaurant sector, both as a franchisee and franchisor. For more information about Argonne, please visit

Piper Jaffray & Co.

Piper Jaffray is an investment bank and asset management firm serving clients in the U.S. and internationally. Proven advisory teams combine deep industry, product and sector expertise with ready access to global capital. Founded in 1895, the firm is headquartered in Minneapolis and has offices across the United States and in London, Hong Kong and Zurich.