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Carlsbad-Based Hot Dog On A Stick Bought By Private Equity Firm

Hot Dog on a Stick stand in Santa Monica, Calif., June 20, 2006.

Credit: MPK / Flickr

Above: Hot Dog on a Stick stand in Santa Monica, Calif., June 20, 2006.

A private equity firm has announced the acquisition of Hot Dog on a Stick, the Carlsbad-based chain of shopping mall eateries known for as much for its impaled corn dogs as its staff in brightly colored, striped uniforms and hats.

Levine Leichtman Capital Partners' Atlanta-based subsidiary, Global Franchise Group LLC, acquired Hot Dog on a Stick, which started 68 years ago in Los Angeles and currently operates 92 outlets in the U.S. and a few other countries. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but the Los Angeles Times and U-T San Diego reported the deal was for $12.2 million.

Hot Dog on a Stick filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February, seeking relief from expensive mall leases so it could reorganize and restructure its business.

"The transaction with HDOS will add another strong brand to GFG's already existing robust quick service restaurant portfolio," said Chris Dull, president and CEO of Global Franchise Group. "Utilizing GFG's strength in brand management, marketing and franchising, along with the iconic brand and long heritage of HDOS, we can greatly accelerate growth while providing HDOS' loyal customer base with even greater service and menu offerings in the years to come."

Global Franchise Group also owns the Great American Cookies, Pretzelmaker, Marble Slab Creamery and MaggieMoo's Ice Cream & Treatery chains. Levine Leichtman, the parent company, is based in Los Angeles.

Hot Dog on a Stick founder Dave Barham opened his first restaurant as Party Puffs in 1946 at Santa Monica Beach, selling ice cream and lemonade, according to the company's website. Later, he used his mother's cornbread recipe to perfect the corn dog, changed the eatery's name to Hot Dog on a Stick and traveled with his product to county fairs — where he got the idea for the colorful uniforms.

Barham opened his first shopping mall restaurant in 1973 in Salt Lake City. He died in 1991 and left the company to his workers. Hot Dog on a Stick operates under an employee stock ownership plan.

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