Chicago — Jeffrey K. Hoffmann, a veteran banking executive who has provided strategic advice and capital solutions to operators of some of the biggest restaurant brands in North America, has joined A&G Real Estate Partners as a senior managing director and head of the firm’s fast-growing restaurant division.
“Jeff is a trusted strategic partner with broad experience and extensive relationships in the restaurant business,” says Andy Graiser, co-president of Melville, N.Y.-based A&G. “He brings strong leadership to our deep bench of experts in this industry. We are very excited to welcome Jeff to the team at A&G.”
Over the past 26 years, Hoffmann, who will be based in the firm’s Chicago office, has advised and financed hundreds of restaurant operators of all types and sizes. Those names include Dave & Buster’s, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, Burger King, Jack in the Box, Pizza Hut, Popeyes, Denny’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, TGI Fridays and Applebee’s, to name a few. Hoffmann has also worked extensively with many regional operators in his career.
Hoffmann joins A&G at a time when the firm’s restaurant division, which provides real estate solutions to restaurants across North America, is growing rapidly. His role will include assisting A&G’s clients with store-optimization plans and occupancy-cost reductions.
“Jeff’s in-depth knowledge of the restaurant business, combined with his extraordinary financial acumen, gives him a unique perspective that will be enormously useful to our restaurant clients,” Graiser says. “The industry is changing quite dramatically, and our team is evolving to meet that demand.”
Hoffmann comes to A&G after serving as vice president of the franchise finance group at CIT Bank in Chicago. He previously cofounded and led the restaurant, franchise and beverage corporate banking group at Fifth Third Bank, also in Chicago.
While there are still tremendous opportunities in the restaurant business, Hoffmann notes, many operators are feeling squeezed by mounting pressures in the marketplace.
“The list includes mandatory minimum wage laws, higher commodity costs, larger-scale remodeling requirements, increased competition, and growing fears of a downturn,” Hoffmann says. “To stay ahead of the curve, companies need responsive strategies. Smarter cash-management is essential, and real estate is a huge component of that.”
Sector-specific dynamics are also important to consider, Hoffmann adds. Franchisors, for example, sometimes resist franchisees’ efforts to close underperforming stores. “By bringing to the table in-depth real estate market data and an objective perspective, A&G can help franchisees make a strong case for shuttering lackluster locations,” he explains. “It’s a mistake to keep units open that are underwater or marginally profitable — especially older restaurants that cause operators to hemorrhage money on maintenance and rents.”
Hoffmann has worked with large convenience-store operators as well. Along with grocers, he notes, the c-store sector is putting pressure on conventional restaurants by ramping up the quality and variety of its food and beverage offerings. “Channel-blurring means that c-stores and grocers are affecting restaurants, but the converse is true as well,” Hoffmann says. “When it comes to real estate strategies, everyone needs to be at the top of their game.”
A&G is a team of seasoned commercial real estate professionals and subject matter experts that delivers strategies designed to yield the highest possible value for clients’ real estate. Founded in 2012, A&G is headquartered in Melville, N.Y., with offices throughout the country. For more information, visit www.agrep.com/.
SOURCE: A&G Real Estate Partners