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Galardi Group Adds Tastee-Freez to Mix

June 21, 2003|Elizabeth Kelly | Times Staff Writer

The parent of hot dog chain Wienerschnitzel is acquiring co-branding partner Tastee-Freez, a purveyor of soft-serve ice cream.

Newport Beach-based Galardi Group, which also owns the Original Hamburger Stand, has served Tastee-Freez desserts at 67 of its more than 350 locations since 1999 under a co-branding agreement.

Other chains also have teamed with complementary brands to expand their menus, including El Pollo Loco and Foster's Freeze.

Tastee-Freez, based in Utica, Mich., operates 219 franchises in 33 states and Panama. Sales in 2002 topped $115 million. The chain will become a Galardi division but retain the current senior management. Owner David Chapaton plans to retire.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Our co-branding efforts with Wienerschnitzel have been successful for both parties, and under the Galardi Group I see great things on the horizon," Chapaton said.

Privately held Wienerschnitzel recently added low-fat hot dogs to its menu. No sales figures for the company were available.

"Tastee-Freez has been a valued partner to us over the past four years," Dennis Tase, president and chief operating officer of Wienerschnitzel, said in a statement. "We look forward to growing the Tastee-Freez brand throughout the United States."

Both companies have grown from humble beginnings. John Galardi wheeled out his first hot dog stand in 1961 in Wilmington, and Tastee-Freez began in 1950.

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