Students and faculty around UNC’s campus indicated they don’t particularly care whether the company is privately owned or publicly traded, as long as the “Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits” are still available.
“Once you go public, it’s up to the buyers,” said Randy Myer, a professor at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. “Going public is like betting on the stock market. It all depends on market interest and whether the brokers have done their job.”
Kasey Norton, a UNC freshman, said while she would not personally invest in the company, she is a huge fan of the chain.
“I especially like how they offer Cajun options,” she said.
Bojangles’ seems to have a large fan base in its home state and the surrounding area. In recent years, it has appeared on lists such as Forbes’ 12 Best Franchises to Own.
But with recent growth and success, the company likely feels that it’s the right time to make the IPO leap.
“Companies are asking for a vote of confidence from their investors when they make an IPO,” said Paolo Fulghieri, also a professor at Kenan-Flagler. “And if the investors don’t trust the product, they won’t purchase the shares.”
Bojangles’ brand is certainly popular in the southeast U.S., where most of their stores are concentrated and its Southern food is most appealing. It remains to be seen whether success as a public company will encourage the chain to expand into other areas of the country.
The company says its fresh food, served conveniently and affordably, puts them a step above their competition in the crowded fast-food industry. Bojangles’ earns $650,000 per restaurant per year on food served before 11 a.m.
“Bojangles’ is one of the things I miss most about North Carolina,” said Nicole Bauer, a freshman at the University of Minnesota who spent her middle and high school years in the Raleigh area before moving back north for college. “I’d certainly buy stock in the company.”
With earnings of $1 billion in fiscal year 2014, Bojangles’ has reason to believe it’ll be successful.