10 Companies That Own Your Favorite Chain Restaurants

10 Companies That Own Your Favorite Chain Restaurants

Nowadays it really seems like every company you've heard of is owned by an even bigger company whose name might be less familiar — and that if not for antitrust laws, all those bigger companies would be owned by one giant multinational intergalactic overlord.

This is certainly true in the food-service business. Though it’s rarely evident when you walk into your favorite chain restaurant, very few of them are independent. 

Bloomin’ Brands

Bloomin’ Brands was founded in 1987, and as the name might imply, it’s the parent company of Outback Steakhouse, whose signature menu item is the Bloomin’ Onion. The company also owns Bonefish Grill, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, and the Hawaii-based chain Roy’s. 

Brinker International

Named after founder Norman Brinker, who popularized the salad bar concept and helped found chains Steak and Ale and Bennigan’s, Brinker International today owns Chili’s and Maggiano’s Little Italy. The company previously owned chains including Romano’s Macaroni Grill, Corner Bakery Cafe, and Taco Cabana.

Darden

The world’s largest full-service restaurant company, Darden, named after founder Bill Darden, was created after General Mills spun off its restaurant holdings in 1995. While Red Lobster was once its flagship holding, that struggling chain was sold in 2014. Darden’s current portfolio includes Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, the Capital Grille, and Yard House. 

DineEquity

DineEquity was created in 2008, the year after IHOP purchased Applebee’s for $2.1 billion. Those two companies remain the only ones under the DineEquity umbrella, but annual revenues still reach more than $160 million. 

Focus Brands

Atlanta-based private equity firm Focus Brands owns Schlotzsky’s, Carvel, Cinnabon, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Auntie Anne’s

Golden Gate Capital

When Darden sold Red Lobster in 2014, it was to Golden Gate Capital, who also owned Romano’s Macaroni Grill from 2008 to 2013. Today the only other restaurantchain  Golden Gate owns besides Red Lobster is California Pizza Kitchen, but their portfolio includes lots of non-restaurant companies, including Eddie Bauer, Payless, and J. Jill.

Landry’s

Landry’s owns and operates more than 500 locations of restaurants, hotels, casinos, and entertainment destinations; restaurants owned by them include Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, McCormick & Schmick’s, Claim Jumper, Chart House, Landry’s Seafood, Mastro’s, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Rainforest Café, Saltgrass Steakhouse, and Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse, among others. The company also owns Golden Nugget Casinos across the country. 

Roark Capital Group

Named after the protagonist in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, Roark was founded in 2001. Its current portfolio includes Arby’s, Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s, Il Fornaio, McAlister’s Deli, , and Wingstop; Focus Brands is one of its affiliates. 

Sun Capital Partners

The portfolio of Boca Raton-based Sun Capital, founded in 1995, contains everything from consumer products (Creekstone Farms Beef) to retail (The Limited). Restaurants make up just of eight of its 55 holdings, but they include Boston Market, Friendly’s, Johnny Rockets, and Smokey Bones. 

Yum! Brands

Yum Brands is one of the few umbrella companies devoted exclusively to fast food; it was founded in 1997 as Tricon Global, a PepsiCo spinoff. Its holdings today include Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Wing Street. Until 2011, the company also owned Long John Silver’s and A&W.