ATLANTA – February 20, 2019Corlex Capital, LLC, an independent financial sponsor focused on control and minority equity investments in the lower middle market, today announced the addition of John Francis to its existing core of five veteran restaurant and franchise operations professionals who have joined the firm as Strategic Operating Partners. Longtime industry operators Neil Culbertson, Stephen Pettise, Tim Pulido, Joe Remsa and Seth Salzman are all proven business leaders who focus on accelerating the value creation of Corlex Capital’s portfolio companies and play an active role throughout the lifetime of its principal investments.

The strategic operating partners boast a wide range of hands-on operating and management experience within the franchise and restaurant industries, including:

  • Franchise veteran John Francis brings more than 30 years of senior level management and operations know-how, including international development, franchise sales, real estate, marketing, credit and strategy, and board representation (The International Franchise Association, PostNet, Sport Clips, Big Frog, and Seva Beauty)
  • Neil Culbertson, founder and president of Growth Partners, a marketing and business development consulting firm, with over 25 years of restaurant, franchise and consumer products industry experience (Red Robin, Burger King, Shakey’s USA, The Krystal Company, First Watch)
  • Foodservice professional Stephen Pettise has worked for 35 years in various senior level food service marketing positions (VP of Marketing for IHOP, CMO of Carl’s Jr. Restaurants)
  • With over 35 years of combined domestic and international experience at top companies such as PepsiCo, McDonald’s and Booz & Co, Tim Pulido possesses a deep understanding of marketing and branding food and beverage brands
  • Former CEO of Shakey’s USA Joe Remsa has more than 25 years of senior level operations capability, principally in the restaurant franchise industry (Pizza Hut, Sonic, Einstein Brothers Bagels, Chicken Kitchen, and Waffle House)
  • Co-founder of Raving Brands, the creator of Moe’s Southwest Grill, Seth Salzman brings over 20 years of restaurant and franchise industry capability to the team (Steak n’ Shake, Steak & Ale, Bertucci’s Brick Oven Pizzeria)

“These seasoned executives bring substantial operational capability to Corlex Capital and showcase our commitment to combine intellectual and financial capital to be thoughtful and impactful in every engagement,” said Jake LaJoie, Partner at Corlex Capital. “Each of our operating team members brings their industry experience and a demonstrated track record of helping businesses achieve significant success, highlighting Corlex’s unique approach to deliver an unmatched level of service while delivering higher risk-adjusted returns for investors.”

As part of the firm’s involvement as thought leaders within the franchise community, partner Jeff Kolton will be speaking on a panel at the International Franchise Association Convention in Las Vegas on February 26, 2019, on the topic of “Aligning Your Budget to Meet Your Short and Long-term Strategy and Goals.” Targeted toward emerging franchise brands with less than 100 units, the panel will be moderated by Carty Davis, Partner at C Squared Advisors, LLC, an independent investment bank providing financial and transaction advisory services to the restaurant, franchise and multi-unit retail industries. The panel discussion will offer expert perspective on how small and emerging brands can identify budgeting and cash flow needs based on growth and operations, while knowing how to manage and adjust accordingly.

Founded by private equity and franchise industry veterans JB Bedasse, Jake LaJoie, Dan Lonergan, Chad Magee and Jeffrey Kolton, Corlex Capital seeks control and minority equity investment opportunities in U.S.-based companies with EBITDA between $5 million and $25 million in the franchise, restaurant, retail and service sectors. Although Corlex Capital is fundamentally a principal equity investor, its platform is differentiated by its complementary consulting practice, through which the firm has access to intimate knowledge about businesses and their internal operations. By offering this service, the firm gains a comprehensive understanding of their client’s business, which allows it to develop value enhancement plans that are then funded through its principal investing business. This approach delivers improved revenue and profits for business owners, while allowing Corlex to de-risk principal investments and drive higher risk-adjusted returns for all stakeholders.


About Corlex Capital
Corlex Capital is an independent financial sponsor that has redefined the private equity model by combining intellectual and financial capital to be thoughtful and impactful in every engagement. While Corlex is fundamentally a principal equity investor, our platform is differentiated by our complementary consulting practice. Through consulting, we are able to gain intimate knowledge about businesses, enabling us to develop value enhancement plans that can be funded through our principal investing business. This approach delivers improved revenue and profits for business owners while allowing us to de-risk our principal investments and drive higher risk-adjusted returns for all stakeholders. Corlex’s seasoned partners and dedicated network of strategic operating partners and advisors have spent decades in private equity, investment banking, law, credit and operations. This in-depth experience empowers Corlex to deliver insightful and productive solutions to the lower middle market with a focus on the franchise, restaurant, retail and service sectors. For more information, please visit

Media Contact:
Julia Block
Fish Consulting