The Engagement

Z Capital Partners is a leading private equity firm founded in 2006 with approximately $1.1 billion of regulatory assets and committed capital under management with offices in Lake Forest, IL and New York, NY. They make constructive, long term control investments in middle-market companies that require turnaround, restructuring, bankruptcy or are otherwise special situations. Z Capital invests in companies challenged by the need to effect immediate changes to their financial structure and or business model and leverages its operational expertise in actively working with management teams to enhance enterprise value.  A recent investment, Real Mex Restaurant’s, the largest full-service, casual dining Mexican restaurant chain operator in the United States with 125 company owned and operated restaurants, as well as 15 franchised restaurants with brands including El Torito Restaurants, Acapulco Mexican Restaurants and Chevys Fresh Mex® Restaurants was in dire need of senior leadership change.

Z Capital partnered with us to secure an operational driven Chief Executive Officer for Real Mex Restaurants to overhaul organizational short and long-term strategies.

The Outcome

On 16 January 2013 the board appointed industry veteran restaurant executive Charles E. Robinson as President & CEO. Most recently Charly was working closely with the founder of Warner Hospitality as EVP of Food & Beverage, helping develop, refurbish and rejuvenate restaurants for several high-profile casinos around the U.S., including the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  Previously Robinson was President & COO of E-Brands Restaurants based in Orlando, where he oversaw the growth of the multi-concept operator, which owns Timpano Italian Chophouses, Taqueria Canonita, Salsa Taqueria & Tequila Bar among other brands. During his tenure the company doubled its revenues and built an infrastructure for growth. Before leading E-Brands Restaurants, he served as Senior Vice President of Operations at Planet Hollywood, and prior to that, as Senior Vice President of Operations at Rainforest Cafe.

During his first year Charly has made significant progress increasing company profitability, steam lining company operations, and revitalizing brand marketing initiatives.  Additionally, Charly has recruited and extraordinary management team including two Vice President Operations, a Chief Financial Officer, a Chief Marketing Officer and a VP of Human Resources.