By DENNIS SEID / Daily Journal
TUPELO • Suddenly, Tupelo has hamburger joints opening everywhere.

Steak ‘N Shake opened recently, and Checkers is scheduled to open soon. Bulldog Burger Co. also is opening this fall.

Now another player is entering the picture. Jack’s Family Restaurants – also known as Jack’s Hamburgers, or simply Jack’s – will be opening two locations in the All-America City.

One will be on West Main Street in the former MAP Sound and Video. The other is in east Tupelo.

It’s a return to Tupelo for the chain. Jack’s was previously on South Gloster Street, but closed in the late 1970s/early 1980s. It was replaced by Payless Shoes, which in turn is now being replaced by Checkers.

Jack’s was founded in 1960 in Homewood, Alabama as a walk-up hamburger stand that sold 10-cent sodas, 15-cent fries and 20-cent shakes.

Now a sit-down fast-food restaurant, Jack’s menu has added breakfast plates and biscuits; grilled and fried chicken sandwiches; fried chicken and chicken tenders; salads; and apple pie and ice cream to go with its shakes on the dessert menu.

The company has some 160 locations in the Southeast, covering Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Georgia.

Jack’s currently has three locations in Mississippi – Columbus, Corinth and Iuka.

Earlier in July, Jack’s was sold by Toronto-based Onex Corp. Neither the terms of the deal nor whom the buyer is, was disclosed.

However, Onex bought Jack’s for $234 million in July 2015. And Onex said, according to QSR magazine, it will have received proceeds of about $835 million, including prior distributions of $106 million. That’s good for a gross multiple of invested capital of 3.6 times and a 38 percent gross rate of return.

Onex invested $79 million in Jack’s as a limited partner in Onex Partners IV and will have realized $255 million upon completion of the deal, including prior distributions of $31 million.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019.

According to Restaurant Business, Jack’s generated $163.3 million in U.S. system sales in 2018, an increase of 7.1% from the previous year.