Country Kitchen Sale Stops Agency Search Process

CHICAGO-The sale of the Country Kitchen restaurant chain to its largest franchisee group has put an advertising review on hold.
The Kitchen Investment Group of Madison, Wis., purchased the chain from Carlson Hospitality Worldwide in Minneapolis earlier this month for an undisclosed sum, just as the agency review was winding down.
Greg Anderson, vice president of marketing at Country Kitchen, declined to take a job under the new ownership, which moved all restaurant operations to Madison, effective today. Anderson started a review of the estimated $1 million account in May.
The finalists were incumbent TVRP Creative in Kansas City, Mo., along with MMG Worldwide in Kansas City, and Minneapolis shops Bozell and Kerker & Associates.
Peterson Milla Hooks in Minneapolis was initially involved in the process, but pulled out of the review.
Anderson, who will continue as a consultant for Kitchen Investment, said he will employ shops, including TVRP, on a project basis until the new management makes a decision about how it wants to handle marketing in the future.
Charles Myers, owner of Kitchen Investment, could not be reached for comment by press time.
Country Kitchen is a 250-unit chain; Myers owns 35 stores. His Kitchen Investment Group franchises an additional 22 restaurants to other investors. Country Kitchen’s full-service family restaurants sport a country decor and are scattered throughout the U.S. and Canada. The roadside units include shops that offer a variety of goods.
Carlson said it made the sale to concentrate on its other casually themed restaurant chain operations, which include TGI Friday’s and Italianni’s. Carlson also maintains ownership of the Country Inn and Suites lodging chain.