This Unexpected Restaurant Chain Used To Own Qdoba

Who doesn't love a good story with a twist? It's become fairly common nowadays for restaurants, especially fast food and fast casual chains, to have some unexpected ownership. For example, Olive Garden, your favorite quick Italian eatery, is owned by Darden, the same company that owns Seasons 52, a restaurant chain that prides itself on healthy, seasonal eats, and The Capital Grille, a restaurant self-described as "fine dining." And as Business Insider notes, McDonald's owned Chipotle for a period of time, though they've since sold it — it was a "distraction," according to their CEO.

So it should come as no surprise that a smaller franchised brand like Qdoba, a chain that describes themselves as "more than just memorable Mexican-inspired food," was actually once owned by another chain, too. Like Olive Garden and Seasons 52 (and McDonald's and Chipotle) the owner of this franchise seemingly had nothing in common with Qdoba, food-wise.

Qdoba's former owner serves burgers

What is it with fast food burger joints that makes them want to connect with slightly more upscale Mexican fast food? Though you may not think to associate the two chains, Jack in the Box actually once owned Qdoba. They bought Qdoba back when it only had 85 stores across 16 locations, and brought some much needed attention to the chain. But after 15 years, in 2018, Nation's Restaurant News covered the sale and end of an era. Jack in the Box sold Qdoba to Apollo Global Management for $305 million, Nation's Restaurant News reports, adding to Apollo's already impressive collection, which, among other properties, includes Chuck E. Cheese.

According to Nation's Restaurant News, the company behind Jack in the Box sold Qdoba to lighten its capital load and attain an "asset-light business model." Since then, Qdoba has grown enough to thrive under any parent company, with 751 locations across North America. And let's face it: burritos will never go out of style.