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Chicken Salad Chick Hatches Private Equity Partnership

Private equity firm invests in its eighth restaurant concept.

Eagle Merchant Partners, an Atlanta, Ga.-based private equity firm, has made an investment in Chicken Salad Chick, an Alabama-based restaurant chain. As a result of this deal, restaurant industry veteran Russ Umphenour becomes chairman of the board and Scott Deviney president and CEO for Chicken Salad Chick.

Founders Kevin and Stacy Brown will continue to serve in roles that will aid the future growth and management of the concept, although the company did not specify titles in a release announcing the deal. Partner and investor Earlon McWhorter, who was serving as vice president of market development, will remain as an advisor to the company for future store and market development.

Umphenour is the former CEO of Focus Brands and RTM Restaurant Group, a former Arby's franchisee. Deviney is the former CEO of SDZ, an Atlanta-based multi-unit Wendy's franchisee, and senior vice president with SunTrust Bank specializing in the restaurant industry.

Chicken Salad Chick operates 32 locations and has agreements to open more than 100 locations contracted with franchise partners.