Hot chicken chain Tumble 22 is taken over by a group that includes former Texas Roadhouse COO

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Hot chicken concepts have become increasingly popular in recent years. / Photo: Shutterstock

Two restaurant investment powerhouses and former Texas Roadhouse COO Doug Thompson have teamed up to buy Tumble 22, a five-unit hot chicken concept based in Texas.

Bruckman, Rosser, Sherrill & Co. (BRS), Rosser Capital Partners (RCP) and Thompson announced Tuesday that they are acquiring the chain with plans to accelerate its growth. Thompson becomes the new CEO. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The full-service Tumble 22 was founded by Guy Villavaso and Larry Foles, the restaurateurs behind established brands like Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and Hopdoddy Burger Bar.

BRS and RCP are well-known restaurant investors. Their portfolios included California Pizza Kitchen, Logan’s Roadhouse, Golden Corral, Au Bon Pain, and other mid-sized chains.

Founded in 2017 as a food truck, Tumble 22 now has five brick-and-mortar locations across Texas. It focuses on fried chicken that’s been “tumbled exactly 22 times for the perfect crunch” and comes in six heat settings, from “Wimpy” to “Stupid Hot.”

“Tumble 22 is a differentiated restaurant concept with an unrelenting focus on food quality and customer service,” BRS Managing Director Tory Rooney said in a statement. “We are very excited to be partnering with Tumble 22 to accelerate growth in new and existing markets.”

It will have an experienced leader in Thompson, who spent more than 20 years at Texas Roadhouse before retiring last November. Before that he worked at Carrabba’s and Outback Steakhouse.

Upon taking the reins at Tumble 22, he said, “It’s all about the people.”

“Tory and [RCP Managing Partner Jacob Organek] are experienced partners on the financial side. Guy and Larry are legends in the industry and I’m honored to help their brand grow,” he said in a statement.

Hot Chicken Concepts have exploded in recent years with capital flowing into emerging brands like Dirty Bird Fried Chxxx, Dave’s Hot Chicken and now Tumble 22. According to Tecnomic, sales of hot chicken sandwiches grew 327% last year.

The fiery comfort dish has its roots in Nashville. Its recent popularity has been fueled by Gen Zers and Millennials.

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