Sale of mighty Austin burger chain shakes up local restaurant scene

One of the most famous burger places in Austin was picked up by two restaurateurs in Austin.

K&N Management has sold all four Mighty Fine Burgers, Fries & Shakes locations to Austin restaurant owners Tony Ciola and Creed Ford IV, best known for local concepts like Tony C’s Pizza and The League Kitchen & Tavern.

“We have always been a fan of the concept, the quality of the food and the service. Additionally, we have always been interested in various pre- and post-COVID-19 opportunities and when that opportunity arose we knew we had to act quickly, “says Ford.

In addition to selling Mighty Fine, K&N has also sold its remaining restaurants – five Rudy’s Bar BQ franchises – back to Rudy’s corporate headquarters, as was first reported in the Austin Business Journal.

The Mighty Fine sale, which closed on December 31, 2020, is a significant moment for the burger chain founded in 2007 by Ken Schiller and Brian Nolen of K&N. However, this is not a case of how the mighty have fallen. According to Ciola, the overall success of the concept, especially during a pandemic devastating a restaurant, was appealing, and Mighty Fine went well with Ciola and Ford’s TC4 & Co. hospitality business.

“Mighty Fine goes with TC4’s brands in the suburbs, of course,” says Ciola. “The fact that they performed well during COVID only supported our decision.”

Although Ciola and Creed operate Tony C’s and The League through TC4 & Co., they made the purchase of Mighty Fine through a separate hospitality management firm that will be entirely dedicated to Mighty Fine.

“It’s a newly created entity and TC4 is a partner,” says Ford. “Because of the speed of this deal, we haven’t had time to raise the capital within TC4, but the new company will be fully managed by TC4.”

With plans to expand Mighty Fine this year and next in Austin and elsewhere in Texas, Ciola and Creed are fueling the flames of the burger chain while expanding their other restaurant concepts. Tony C’s, which opened its first location in 2009, now has two pizzerias in Bee Cave and Avery Ranch. The company recently opened two Tony C’s Pizza & Beer Garden locations, one in Round Rock and one in the Allandale neighborhood. And the restaurateurs plan to add a new location to The League, which has three locations in central Texas, later this year.

The TC4 & Co. partners say they’ll likely be making some small changes to Mighty Fine due to the change in ownership, but that burger fans shouldn’t notice much of a difference going forward.

“They have a great operation and we want to keep what they built,” says Ciola.

Ford agrees, adding, “There will be no major changes within the brand. We have been Mighty Fine fans for years and aim to maintain the level of food and service they have been providing since 2007. “

K&N did not respond to requests for further information. But why, after years of success, K & N’s Schiller and Nolen decided to outsource Mighty Fine and Rudy’s franchise, Schiller stated that the move was triggered by the couple’s desire to retire, and shared with the ABJ that they decided to sell the concepts because they are both in their 60s and after “getting an attractive offer it just came together”.

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