McLEAN, Va. -- Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder said
Friday he will buy Johnny Rockets, the 1950s-style diner chain that
features burgers, fries and a wait staff that dances and sings to
Snyder's investment arm, RedZone Capital Fund II, will acquire
the Lake Forest, Calif.-based chain, which operates more than 200
restaurants nationwide. Terms of the purchase were not released.
The move is the latest push into entertainment-themed businesses
by Snyder, who made a fortune in marketing and operates the NFL's
most profitable team.
In 2005, he took over amusement park operator Six Flags Inc.,
which has since embarked on an aggressive marketing campaign to
revive sagging attendance. Last year, Snyder agreed to finance
actor Tom Cruise's production company after it was dropped by
Snyder said in a statement that he expects Johnny Rockets to
grow significantly in the coming years. That includes plans for a
series of smaller Johnny Rockets Express restaurants that will
serve the chain's staple of burgers, fries and milkshakes. They
will be cheaper too, with capital expenses of $300,000 compared to
$750,000 for a full restaurant.
"There's no reason we shouldn't expect see 1,000 Johnny Rockets
locations within the next five years," Snyder said in a statement.
Johnny Rockets was founded in Los Angeles in 1986 and tries to
reclaim the 1950s heyday of diners and drugstore malt shops. Every
half hour, waiters and waitresses dressed in white with black bow
ties and paper hats groove to classic tunes. Juke boxes on the
tables cost a nickel.
The chain has grown fast, expanding at a rate of 20 percent each
year. It now operates in 29 states and nine countries, with eight
restaurants aboard Royal Caribbean cruise ships.