The Saxton Group, one of the largest national restaurant franchisees, is pleased to announce that it has sold its stock to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (“ESOP”), becoming one of the largest 100% employee-owned companies in the restaurant industry. An ESOP is a federally regulated retirement plan that invests in the stock of an employer on behalf of its employees. Under the plan, eligible employees will earn shares of The Saxton Group stock over time.
“I’ve always believed that the difference between our restaurants and others is our people. We have always been committed to the growth and development of our employees,” said company founder and Chairman Kelly Saxton. “The ESOP allows us to acknowledge their contribution to our success and to invest more deeply in them.”
With The Saxton Group’s commitment to employee development, including teaching each employee the restaurant business from ground up, ESOP ownership will strengthen the company’s future performance and growth. National Center for Employee Ownership Executive Director Loren Rogers observed that, “After almost forty years of experience and academic research, the case is closed: ESOP companies tend to outperform the competition. Employee ownership works best when companies engage their work forces by training employee-owners to think and act like entrepreneurs. The result, on average, is stronger companies, more innovation, and more jobs.”
The Saxton Group’s current leadership will stay in place, with Kelly Saxton as Executive Chairman and Founder, Kirk Lanier as President, Adam Saxton as Vice President and Matt Saxton as Vice President.
In addition to becoming employee-owned, the Saxton Group also acquired 20 McAlister’s Deli locations in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. The company now consists of 50 McAlister’s Deli and 4 Pinkberry locations throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Employees at the newly acquired locations will also be eligible to be part of the ESOP.
To finance the ESOP share purchase, The Saxton Group partnered with CapitalSpring and Long Point Capital. Eric Von Stroh, Managing Director of Long Point Capital, said, “The achievements of Kelly and his team are impressive and we believe that ownership by the employees will be a meaningful competitive advantage in attracting and retaining talent in the restaurant industry.”
“We are thrilled to have partnered with The Saxton Group,” added Erik Herrmann, Vice President of CapitalSpring. “We look forward to working with management to accelerate the company’s growth through new development and strategic acquisitions. TSG is the largest franchisee in the McAlister’s system, and the company will benefit from the brand’s increasing prominence in the fast casual segment.”
The Saxton Group currently plans to add 3-5 new units in 2013 with similar or higher growth levels in subsequent years. The company started as a single-unit Mazzio’s Pizza location in Clinton, Mississippi where Chairman Kelly Saxton was everything from owner, general manager to dishwasher, cashier and dough-maker. The company is now one of the largest restaurant franchisees in the country with 2,000 employees in over 50 locations in four states.
“I never imagined when I first opened the first restaurant nearly 30 years ago that we would grow to who we are today,” said company founder and Chairman Kelly Saxton. “This would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our employees and the loyalty of our many guests. I am looking forward to how employee ownership will enhance the restaurant experience for our guests and employees.”
For more information about employee ownership, please visit the National Center for Employee Ownership.
A 100% Employee Owned Company, The Saxton Group has been part of the restaurant industry for over 30 years. The Saxton Group has a rich history of multi-unit and multi-brand development. Initially a small operation with a single restaurant, the group has evolved into industry veterans and leaders with locations operating in four states. A 2013 acquisition made The Saxton Group the largest McAlister’s Deli franchisee in the country, owning and operating over 50 locations. As one of Restaurant Franchise Monitor’s Top 100 Restaurant Franchisees, The Saxton Group is aggressively expanding McAlister’s Deli and Pinkberry concepts. Through the years, The Saxton Group has maintained a family approach to business and takes pride in teaching every employee about the restaurant business from the ground up. The group is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. For more information, please visit www.thesaxtongroup.com.