May 03 2019

ATLANTA—GPS Hospitality, a long-time Womble Bond Dickinson client, has added 75 Pizza Hut restaurants to its growing portfolio. A Womble Bond Dickinson team led by Joe Foltz represented GPS Hospitality in the acquisitions, which expands the company’s footprint to 13 states.

In the transaction, GPS Hospitality acquired Pizza Hut restaurants in Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee. In addition to the recently added Pizza Hut locations, the Atlanta-based GPS Hospitality already operates over 400 Burger King and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen restaurants. Last Year, GPS Hospitality was the fastest growing company in the Franchise Times Restaurant 200, and the company is on pace to grow to 500 units in the near future.

“Pizza Hut is a mature and beloved brand with dominance in the space,” GPS Hospitality CEO Tom Garrett said in a statement . “Not only does the brand see value in investing in its people, but also positioning itself as an industry leader with its recent NFL sponsorship, plus innovations with its app and delivery offerings. Our partnership with Pizza Hut is a deliberate move to align ourselves with a brand that reflects our values and business sensibilities. The addition of the third brand and expansion into new territories are major milestones for our company.”

Womble Bond Dickinson attorneys Laura Hester, Keith Taylor, Carolyn Wilson and Phil Runkel, as well as paralegals Linda Martin and Court Evans, worked with Foltz on the successful acquisition.

The same team helped GPS Hospitality close a $300 million credit facility in late 2018.

Click here to read coverage of GPS Hospitality deal in Franchise Times.

Joe Foltz has been one of the Atlanta market’s leading transactional attorneys for more than three decades. He represents developers, property owners, managers and equity investors in the acquisition, development, leasing, structured financing and management of commercial real estate and operating businesses. Foltz also practices in the area of corporate finance, secured lending and general corporate law.

Laura Hester is foremost a business lawyer with a practice centered on complex commercial real estate and corporate transactions. She represents owners, developers, investors and managers of hotel, multifamily, student housing, condominium, retail, office and industrial properties in multifaceted transactions. For corporate clients that do not have internal legal departments, Hester serves as general counsel, advising on private equity, finance, mergers and acquisitions, secured lending, and technology licensing, strategic restructurings and corporate governance.

Keith Taylor is a deal lawyer with more than 20 years of experience who focuses his practice on the acquisition and development of real estate for commercial and residential uses. He also counsels franchisees on the acquisition, structure and operation of quick service restaurants through all phases of acquisition and development.

Carolyn Wilson has more than 35 years of experience representing clients in commercial loan transactions and in commercial real estate acquisitions and dispositions. In the field of commercial lending, Carolyn represents financial institutions in structuring and closing complex secured and unsecured loans. As a veteran real estate lawyer, she helps clients buy and sell commercial, industrial, multifamily and leasehold properties. She is a member of the Commercial Real Estate Women of Atlanta Hall of Fame.

Phil Runkel is a client-focused commercial real estate attorney with over 20 years representing clients throughout the US. He works on a broad array of matters, with particular focus on tenant-side office & retail leasing, REIT transactions and real estate development. His clients range from publicly traded REIT’s and Fortune 500 companies to locally and regionally focused real estate developers and investors.

About GPS Hospitality
Founded in 2012, GPS Hospitality is a BURGER KING®, Pizza Hut®, and Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen franchisee, operating more than 475 restaurants in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and West Virginia. GPS Hospitality seeks to become our guests’ favorite QSR destination by implementing our brand values of being Goal Focused, People Oriented and Service Obsessed. For more information, please visit www.gpshospitality.com or follow us on LinkedIn , Facebook , Instagram and Twitter .