Private equity company Levine Leichtman Capital Partners (LLCP) has acquired US-based franchisor of fast casual cafes, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, in partnership with the management.

Founded in 1997, Tropical Smoothie Cafe has more than 870 units across 44 states and serves smoothies, wraps, sandwiches and flatbreads across multiple dayparts.

The existing executive team led by CEO Charles Watson will continue to run the company.

Watson said: “My team and I are very excited to partner with LLCP as Tropical Smoothie Cafe seeks to enhance its market-leading position.

“Having the opportunity to leverage LLCP’s extensive franchise expertise will be pivotal in driving further growth and supporting franchisees in inspiring better in our guests.”

LLCP noted that Tropical Smoothie Cafe will be the fifth investment from the company.

LLCP managing partner Matthew Frankel said: “We are excited to partner with Charles and the rest of the management team who have led the tremendous growth of Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

“We look forward to working with them as they continue to increase system-wide sales, improve franchisee unit economics and expand unit count in the significant remaining whitespace.”

Kirkland & Ellis advised LLCP regarding the deal, while Tropical Smoothie Cafe was advised by Robert W Baird & Co and Alston & Bird. Golub Capital provided debt financing to LLCP for the acquisition.

The parties have not disclosed the deal value.

Last June, Tropical Smoothie Café collaborated with Capgemini to introduce a new technology support model, Cafe Tech Support, in an effort to transform its guest experience.

Powered by technologies offered through Capgemini’s Agile Store solution, the Cafe Tech Support model offers franchisees technology assistance seven days a week.