Holding Company Inspire Brands Is Private, No IPO Plans in Place

Inspire Brands is the holding company for Dunkin', Arby's, and other restaurant brands. It's privately held by equity firm Roark Capital.

Kathryn Underwood - Author

Jul. 2 2021, Published 9:33 a.m. ET

Baskin-Robbins is part of Inspire Brands
Source: Inspire Brands Press Kit

Baskin-Robbins is one of the brands held by Inspire Brands

If you ever eat fast food, there’s a good chance you went to one of the restaurants held by Inspire Brands. This holding company, founded in 2018, isn't publicly traded. However, it comprises multiple popular U.S. restaurant brands.

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Some of Inspire Brands’ holdings are Arby’s and Baskin-Robbins. The firm’s latest restaurant acquisition was Dunkin’ Brands in December 2020 for $11.3 billion. The transaction took Dunkin’ Brands from being publicly traded to privately held by Roark Capital, which owns Inspire Brands.

Which companies are part of Inspire Brands?

In 2018, Inspire Brands formed with the goal of drawing together multiple diverse restaurant brands to “supercharge their long-term growth.” Inspire Brands holds a range of restaurant companies and was first founded when Roark Capital made the merger agreement for Arby’s to acquire the Buffalo Wild Wings brand.

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Currently, Inspire Brands is made up of Dunkin’, Rusty Taco, Arby’s, Baskin-Robbins, Sonic, Jimmy John’s, and Buffalo Wild Wings. At its founding, it held about 4,600 restaurants worldwide. The company has grown to over 32,000 restaurant locations in over 65 countries. It’s the second-largest restaurant company in the nation with over $27 billion in global system sales.

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Inspire Brands leadership

Inspire Brands is led by CEO Paul Brown, who was the previous CEO of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. Roark Capital entrusted him with the job of turning around Arby’s in 2013. Previously, he held executive leadership positions at Hilton Worldwide and Expedia, Inc.

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Last month, the company announced the appointment of its new CFO, Kate Jaspon. She had already served in that executive role for Dunkin’ Brands before its acquisition by Inspire Brands.

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Brown, the company's CEO, said of Jaspon, “Her financial acumen, leadership, and strong relationships with the investment community solidified that she’s ideal for this role.”

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Roark Capital

Roark Capital, based in Atlanta, is a private equity holding about $25 billion in assets under management. It specializes in franchised and multi-location business models. Food and restaurants are its largest sector, which incorporates Inspire Brands.

Roark Capital's other holdings are CKE Restaurants (Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s) and FOCUS Brands, which includes Cinnabon, Carvel Ice Cream, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Jamba, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Schlotzky’s.

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Will Inspire Brands go public?

Currently, Inspire Brands doesn’t seem to be planning on an IPO. In 2018, Brown said that working as a private company meant a more patient group of shareholders, according to Yahoo Finance. He said that being a public company wasn’t a bad idea, but he wanted to avoid the short-term thinking that can be common with publicly traded companies.

Brown said, “If Inspire were to go public at some point, the expectations for patience and trust in long-term planning would already have been established.” He hasn’t mentioned to the media any changes to that philosophy.

In January, Restaurant Brands claimed that because Inspire Brands is “the type of franchise-heavy business that equity investors salivate over,” they would like to see Inspire Brands going public in 2021.


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