Krystal to move headquarters to metro Atlanta


Krystal to move headquarters to metro Atlanta

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Wing Zone

Citing better access to its restaurants via Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as motivation, burger giant Krystal announced Wednesday it is moving its headquarters to metro Atlanta from Chattanooga, the company’s birthplace.

The restaurant chain, which was acquired earlier this year by Atlanta-based private equity firm Argonne Capital Group, said it plans to relocate its corporate office, called the Restaurant Support Center, to north metro Atlanta sometime in early 2013.

“We have not signed a lease yet, but we’re looking in the Perimeter area for something in the 20,000-square-foot range,” company President and Chief Executive Officer Doug Pendergast said in an interview.

Staffers at the RSC headquarters, which employs about 60 workers, were notified of the decision Wednesday afternoon. Most can apply for new positions in the metro Atlanta office, while those who decline to relocate will receive severance packages and job search assistance, the company said.

Pendergast said it’s too early to tell how many positions will be available when the metro Atlanta headquarters opens.

Krystal, known for its small bite-size burgers, was placed on the market in the summer of 2011. The company, founded in Chattanooga 80 years ago this month, has more than 6,000 employees and owns and franchises 350 restaurants in 11 Southern states.

Pendergast said growth plans — the company wants to open 150 stores in the next five years — and improving access to them through Hartsfield persuaded company officials to relocate to metro Atlanta.

At 117 restaurants, Georgia is home to the chain’s biggest concentration of locations — 60 of which are in metro Atlanta, Pendergast said.

He said the company did not seek incentives to stay in Chattanooga and that city leaders were not aware of Krystal’s plans until they were revealed Wednesday.

“We did not try to play one city against another and reached this conclusion on our own,” he said. “[Chattanooga leaders] are certainly disappointed, but were very professional and understanding.”

He described the decision to leave Chattanooga as a “tough call,” but said the company is working with the Davenport family, which founded the chain, to build a museum there.

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