Ignite to sell Romano's Macaroni Grill for $8M, 85 per cent below what it paid 2 years ago

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Two years after buying Romano’s Macaroni Grill for $55 million, Ignite Restaurant Group Inc. said Wednesday that it is selling the pasta chain for $8 million.

“The brand was unable to deliver, in a timely manner, on the milestones we established,” said Ignite CEO Ray Blanchette in a statement.

Ignite, based in Houston, also owns Joe’s Crab Shack seafood restaurants and the smaller Brick House Tavern & Tap chain, which serves burgers, pizza and beer.

Phoenix-based Redrock Partners LLC, a new company founded by Macaroni Grill’s current president, John Gilbert, and two other partners, will buy the chain. The deal is expected to close in 30 days.

Macaroni Grill has nearly 150 locations in the U.S., with revenue of about $300 million a year, Redrock said.

Shares of Ignite rose 38 cents, or 5.2 per cent, to close at $7.65 Wednesday.