Private Equity Firm Roark Capital Owns Every Retail Franchise Food Chain

In the bustling world of retail food chains, one private equity firm stands out for its extensive portfolio of popular brands. Roark Capital, a name synonymous with strategic acquisitions, owns an impressive array of food chains, including Dunkin’, Sonic, The Cheesecake Factory, Wingstop, Arby's, and many more. However, behind the scenes, the firm has faced serious allegations of wage theft and exploitation, making billions at the expense of its workers. This article delves into Roark Capital’s tactics and their controversial impact on the industry. 

Roark Capital's Expansive Portfolio

Roark Capital has built an empire by acquiring and managing a diverse range of retail food chains. Their portfolio includes:

  • Dunkin': Known for its coffee and donuts, Dunkin’ is a staple in many Americans' daily routines.
  • Sonic: A drive-in fast food restaurant chain famous for its carhops and extensive menu.
  • The Cheesecake Factory: A restaurant chain renowned for its vast menu and decadent desserts.
  • Wingstop: Specializing in chicken wings with a variety of flavors and sauces.
  • Arby's: Famous for its roast beef sandwiches and curly fries.

These acquisitions have allowed Roark Capital to dominate the retail food sector, making them a powerhouse in the industry.

The Dark Side: Allegations of Wage Theft and Exploitation

Despite their success, Roark Capital has been mired in controversy. Numerous reports and investigations have uncovered troubling practices within their owned chains. The firm has been accused of wage theft, denying fair wages to over 1.4 million workers across its various brands. These practices have sparked outrage among labor advocates and workers alike.

Exploiting Workers and Stifling Wage Increases

Roark Capital's business model has been criticized for prioritizing profits over fair labor practices. By exploiting legal loopholes and implementing stringent cost-cutting measures, the firm has managed to keep wages low, despite growing calls for a $15 minimum wage. This approach has allowed Roark Capital to generate significant profits while workers struggle to make ends meet.

Exposing Roark Capital's Tactics

Several tactics employed by Roark Capital have come to light, revealing the extent of their exploitation:

  1. Underpayment and Wage Violations: Numerous workers have reported being paid below minimum wage, with some even experiencing wage theft where hours worked were not properly compensated.

  2. Intimidation and Retaliation: Employees who voiced concerns about their wages or working conditions faced intimidation and retaliation, creating a culture of fear and silence.

  3. Manipulating Labor Laws: Roark Capital has been accused of manipulating labor laws to avoid paying overtime and benefits, further exploiting their workforce.

The Human Cost of Profit Maximization

While Roark Capital has amassed billions in profits, the human cost of their practices cannot be ignored. Workers across their chains have shared stories of struggling to support their families, working long hours without adequate compensation, and facing an uncertain future.

The Fight for Fair Wages

The fight for a $15 minimum wage has gained momentum in recent years, with labor unions and advocacy groups pushing for legislative changes. Roark Capital’s actions have highlighted the urgent need for stronger labor protections and fair wages for all workers.


Roark Capital's dominance in the retail food sector is undeniable, but it comes at a significant cost to its workers. The firm's tactics of wage theft and exploitation have brought to light the darker side of private equity ownership in the industry. As the fight for fair wages continues, it is crucial to hold companies like Roark Capital accountable for their practices and ensure a more equitable future for all workers.

By exposing these issues, we hope to shed light on the need for systemic change and the importance of supporting fair labor practices in every industry.