• Jacmar finalizes Shakey's Pizza purchase, launches aggressive plans to revitalize brand

    Tags: Shakey's

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Singapore-based Inno-Pacific Holdings Ltd. announced the completion of its sale of Shakey's Inc., to The Jacmar Companies. The sale ends Inno-Pacific's often-tumultuous 15-year ownership of the legendary chain.

According to a news release posted on the Web site of the Singapore Stock Exchange, on June 30, Inno-Pacific agreed to sell Shakey's and all its assets to Jacmar for $4.5 million. In the deal, Jacmar also settled a class-action lawsuit brought against Shakey's by 20 of its franchisees. Terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.

According to a news release from Alhambra, Calif.-based Jacmar, the new company will be named Shakey's USA, and the 63-unit chain will remain headquartered in Los Angeles.

James A. Dal Pozzo, president of the Jacmar Companies, is upbeat about the new venture.

"This is an exciting opportunity to capitalize on the Shakey's name, revitalize and expand the business and reclaim a loyal following across the U.S.," Dal Pozzo said in the release. "Generations of Californians remember Shakey's as the place their parents brought them for food, fun and entertainment. We plan to reinvigorate the brand, refresh our menu and update our stores so that generations to come can make their own memories at Shakey's."

Founded in 1954, Shakey's Pizza was the first franchised family pizza restaurant chain in the U.S. By the mid-1970s, it had become a 500-unit pizza powerhouse.

The company languished amid a series of corporate ownership changes, and over the next three decades, U.S. unit numbers dropped to 63. Franchisees, frustrated by the lack of leadership, innovation in menu offerings and corporate investment in the business, sued Shakey's multiple times.

One unit franchisee John McNulty, who also is president of the Shakey's Franchise Dealer Association, said he and the other franchisees are confident the new owners will give the chain the leadership necessary for a comeback.

"This is a good business with a strong brand and expandable concept that can grow under the right management," McNulty said in the release. "The new team knows how to manage and market restaurants, build consumer and brand loyalty and keep up with rapid changes in the competitive landscape."

Dal Pozzo said the company plans to revive Shakey's first in California, followed by expansion throughout the western U.S. The company also would like to return to markets once abandoned in the Eastern U.S.

Dal Pozzo wants a new CEO installed before year's end and has hired a firm to help in the search. Meanwhile, Shakey's is testing a number of new food concepts, including fresh entree salads, and a rotisserie chicken product. It also is working to modernize its signature stores.

"We're on a pretty fast track," Dal Pozzo said in the release. "Looking at where Shakey's has been and where we plan to take it, it's an exciting, challenging time for all of us."

Read related Shakey's stories by clicking here.

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