Some people are blessed with good timing, and Dallas restaurateur Ed Bailey seems to be among them. One of the nation’s biggest McDonald’s owners/operators–he’s got 63 stores in Dallas-Fort Worth–Bailey nonetheless took the fast-food giant to court, fighting for his right to open up some “white-tablecloth” restaurants on the side. The parties quietly settled that suit in November–”I’m extremely happy,” Bailey says of the outcome–and now he’s put all 63 DFW McDonald’s on the market, aiming to focus on his Patrizio and Bailey’s Prime Plus Steakhouse concepts.
Bailey says part of the November settlement calls for the McDonald’s corporation to buy back all 63 stores by next January at a predetermined price. But meantime–and here’s the good-timing part–Bailey won the right to sell any or all of the stores to anybody else for the most dough he can get.
And, as you may have noticed, McDonald’s is a hot (read: affordable) commodity in this tough economic climate. Last year, Bailey says, his per-restaurant sales and profits were the highest ever, and both figures are up substantially so far this year over 2008. MacDonald’s stock is also doing well.
But, the former Marine won’t be taking his bundle–he expects a payday of at least $150 million–and making for the Bahamas anytime soon. Just now he’s preparing to roll out his “female-friendly” Bailey’s steakhouse in spots including Cedar Hill, Fairview/Allen and the Park Lane development in Dallas.
(What’s so “female friendly” about it? Picture a sunny decor, not dark wood paneling; trees on the property and a fountain with a reflecting pond; an “ornate/opulent” feel–think Vegas–plus “food portions that women will be comfortable” with.)
Bailey’s also pushing his Patrizio brand–the original’s in Highland Park Village, of course–into outposts like Fairview/Allen and Fort Worth.
Says Bailey: “Now’s the time.”
And, you sort of get the feeling he knows what he’s talking about.