Heartland Food Corporation

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Heartland Food Corp.
IndustryFood service
FounderAl Cabrera
Area served
Midwestern United States, Canada
Key people
Christopher J. Ondrula
President and
Chief Executive Officer

Joel Aaseby
Chief Financial Officer
Pam Smith,
Vice President of Operations
John Schank,
Vice President of Operations
Footnotes / references

Heartland Foods is one of the largest franchises of Burger King. The Downers Grove, Illinois-based company owns and operates over 225 restaurants in six US States.[2]


By 2001 and nearly eighteen years of stagnant growth, many of Burger King's franchises were in some sort of financial distress. The lack of growth severely impacted BKC's largest franchise, the nearly 400 store AmeriKing; by 2001 the company, which until this point had been struggling under a nearly $300 million debt load and been shedding store across the US, was forced to enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[3]

While several individual BK franchisees also took advantage of the AmeriKing failure and the resulting sale of its assets, Miami-based franchisee Al Cabrera and cofounder Joseph DaGrosa[4][5] purchased the largest chunk of stores, 130 locations primarily in Chicago and the upper mid-west, from the failed company for a bargain basement price of $16 million, or approximately 88% of their original value. Taking these stores, he and his partners created a new company called Core Value Partners to renovate and update the locations which had deteriorated during Ameriking's decline. During this time, the company was renamed Heartland Foods and it purchased 120 additional stores from other financially distressed owners and completely revamped them as well. The resulting purchases made Mr. Cabrerra Burger King's largest minority franchisee and Heartland one of BKC's top franchisee groups.[6] By 2006, the company was valued at over $150 million, and was sold to New York-based GSO Capital Partners.[7]


  1. ^ "Executive Profiles". Heartland Food Corp. Archived from the original on 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
  2. ^ "About Heartland Food Corp". Heartland foods Corp. 2005. Archived from the original on 2009-08-03. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  3. ^ Jo Napolitano (2002-12-22). "A Fighter for Burgers and Fries". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-06. The AmeriKing bankruptcy has added uncertainty to the prospects for Burger King, which relies heavily on franchise owners of its restaurants.
  4. ^ "U.S. Stem Cell Inc. USRM Post # 52397". Investors Hub.
  5. ^ "Joseph E. DaGrosa Jr.: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". www.bloomberg.com.
  6. ^ "BK franchisee-led group buys 131 AmeriKing units". Nations Restaurant News. 2003-12-15. Retrieved 2008-04-12.
  7. ^ "Major Burger King Franchisee To Sell 240 Restaurants". the Miami Herald. 2006-12-17. Archived from the original on 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2008-04-12.