Krystal sold to Atlanta-based investment firm for undisclosed amount

Authored By Chloé Morrison

Leaders with the Krystal Company announced today that they have sold the 80-year-old company to private investment firm Argonne for an undisclosed amount. 

“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,” Krystal President and CEO Fred Exum said in a prepared statement. “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.”

Officials said the company’s headquarters will remain in Chattanooga. 

Some local residents expressed concern about the sale. 

Chattanooga resident Ryan Kyle Walker said he hopes the new owner will focus on customer service.

“They should take some notes from Chik-fil-A,” he said via Twitter. 

Ringgold resident Jason Jones said, at least initially, he isn’t happy about the situation. 

“Inevitably something will change,” he said. “We’ll have to wait and see, though.”

Krystal announced late last summer that it had retained Piper Jaffray & Co. to market the Chattanooga-based chain for a potential sale.

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-one on Broad Street– and will continue with new store developments in the future, leaders said.

 “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,” Michael Klump, founder and president of Argonne, said in a prepared statement. 

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.