CMG was started by a group of 5 Indian Americans.
By Sujeet Rajan
NEW YORK: The Indian Americans-owned company Chalak Mitra Group (CMG), based in Dallas, Texas, has lost its franchise of Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, where a deadly fight between biker gangs Bandidos and Cossacks on Sunday turned into a bloodbath, spilling from the restaurant premises to the parking lot outside, and thereafter into a bloody tussle with law enforcement officials. The warfare left at least 9 people dead, scores injured and resulted in 170 people arrested.
CMG may face several other charges as the police investigation continues. Reports suggest the management of the CMG which was running the Twin Peaks restaurant were aware of the threat from biker gangs which converged there often, but did not pay heed to the warnings of impending fight, including from law enforcement officials. On Sunday, the gangs had met there specifically to discuss recruitment and turf violations. At the end of the deadly melee, more than 100 weapons were confiscated.
“There were at least three rival gang groups here this morning for whatever reason. As they were here, we had officers on scene. We expected issues,” said Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, a police spokesman. He later said there were at least five gangs, reported CNN.
Swanton expressed anger at Twin Peaks, which he claims had been less than helpful in dealing with gangs in the past.
“Are we frustrated? Sure. Because we feel like there may have been more that could have been done by a business to prevent this,” he said, to CNN.
Twin Peaks, according to its website, is a sports lodge offering ‘made-from-scratch comfort food,’ draft beer, and the Twin Peaks Girls who, are dressed scantily.
The Dallas Morning News broke the news of the restaurant severing its ties with the CMG, which was running the franchise since August 11, 2014. CMG also runs the Genghis Grill chain. Both Twin Peaks and Genghis Grill are two of the fastest growing chains in the nation.
“We are in the people business and the safety of the employees and guests in our restaurants is priority one,” Twin Peaks said in a statement. “Unfortunately the management team of the franchised restaurant in Waco chose to ignore the warnings and advice from both the police and our company, and did not uphold the high security standards we have in place to ensure everyone is safe at our restaurants.
It added: “We will not tolerate the actions of this relatively new franchisee and are immediately revoking their franchise agreement. Our sympathies continue to be with the families of those who died and are very thankful no employees, guests, police officers or bystanders were hurt or injured.”
Officials with Chalak Mitra did not respond to requests for comment by The American Bazaar on the situation.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, at the request of the Waco Police Department, said Monday it has issued a seven-day summary suspension of the alcohol license of the Waco Twin Peaks, run by CMG.
“The seven-day suspension was issued under the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, which allows the commission to temporarily suspend a business’ license to sell alcohol following a ‘shooting, stabbing or murder that has occurred on the licensed premises which is likely to result in a subsequent act of violence,’” the state said. “…The suspension is not an accusation of wrongdoing on the part of Twin Peaks…,” it added in a statement.
During the suspension, TABC will work with the Waco Police Department to investigate whether the restaurant’s “operational or management policies contributed to an atmosphere which allowed the shooting to take place,” the state said. “Any wrongdoing uncovered during the investigation could result in further action against the restaurant, including monetary fines, further suspension, or cancellation of its TABC license to sell alcohol.”
“We will continue to investigate the operations of the restaurant to determine if they failed to properly manage the folks on the premises and enabled this event to take place,” Maj. Victor Kuykendoll, TABC District 2 Regional Commander said in a statement.
According to Bloomberg, CMG, founded in 1998, focuses on food service, hotels, and real estate businesses. The company acts as a franchisee for various restaurants; and undertakes various hotel and real estate projects.
According to public records available, Al Bhakta, is the Chief Executive Officer of CMG, with other top executives being: Manish Patel – Chairman and President; Chet Bhakta – Managing Partner; Ron Parikh – Managing Partner and Chief Marketing Officer; and Nik Bhakta – Managing Partner.
The success story of CMG will grind to a stop, at least for a while, as they will have trouble expanding in their home state of Texas.
KTXS12, an affiliate of ABC, had reported earlier this year that CMG was on its way to opening another Twin Peaks franchise restaurant in Abilene, Texas, in fall this year.
The Nation’s Restaurant News, in 2011, did a story on the remarkable growth story of CMG, which evolved out of an impetuous move by a group of friends at the University of Texas, who sold a modest pool hall and game room business to open a Mongolian stir-fry franchise near Dallas.
Bhakta, 35, had told Restaurant News that he and his co-owners of CMG planned to grow Genghis Grill into 300 units by 2015. Along the way, they kept acquiring other restaurant and real estate properties, including outside the US. It’s estimated they run hundreds of restaurants.
In December 2010, Bhakta and his partners acquired 33 restaurants from Yum! Brands Inc. for an undisclosed sum. The group also has an interest in the growing chain of Hampshire Hotels in South Africa; the 10-unit Orange Cup frozen-yogurt chain based in Irving, Texas; and a fast-casual Asian fusion concept called Bistro Babusan.
Several sources interviewed by Restaurant News called Bhakta “a work-hard, play-hard guy” who can be serious about business without taking himself too seriously. In fact, he’s known to wield a marshmallow-shooting gun around the office.
Bhakta also had some unconventional ideas which seemed to have irked some people in the past. One of those was to have aggressive alcohol specials, with one particular drink called ‘Naked.’
When the partners printed flyers promoting Naked — a five-liquor concoction whose contents no one now recalls — and distributed them throughout their neighborhood, some landed in the hands of churchgoers who were a bit chaffed by the notion of the drink.
“People got angry and told us they thought we were a family establishment,” Bhakta said of the PR backlash, to Restaurant News. “We learned early on that you needed to think through things sometimes before you did them.”
Another report, from 2010, also says that CMG acquired KFC, Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s units in Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. At that time, CMG reportedly said franchise owners Manish Patel and Pushpak Patel would continue to operate those restaurants. CMG had partnered with the Patels to open up their first KFC and Taco Bell location in Anna, Texas.
Earlier this year, La Madeleine, the country French cafe, which has a collection of more than 70 bakery cafes, completed a deal with the CMG, to franchise.
Deepen Patel, a veteran of the CMG, was to be the operating partner behind the 12 new la Madeleine cafes planned for Central Texas and Oklahoma, as well as the existing five cafes in San Antonio and Tulsa. He previously owned a small chain of pizza shops in Dallas.