Cincinnati--Nicar Holding Inc., franchisor of Great Steak & Potato Co. restaurants, has been sold to Kahala Corp. for an undisclosed sum. Nicar is a 260-store restaurant chain with annual sales of roughly $100 million, said Nick Lanni, the company's founder, president and CEO. Kahala is a national franchisor of six different restaurant concepts, with 700 outlets and annual systemwide sales of roughly $450 million, according to a Nicar release.

Lanni, who founded the company with a single Great Steak outlet in Dayton in 1982, said the sale will be good for the company's 150 franchisees. Lanni would not reveal terms of the deal, but he said the price tag and the prospect that Kahala Corp. may go public in the next few years also were factors in his decision to sell. Lanni said Kahala has the financial capacity to speed the opening of new stores for the Great Steak. Nicar opened a dozen stores last year, he said. Kahala should boost that number to between 15 and 20.

Lanni will maintain ownership of the nine corporate-owned Great Steak restaurants in the Tri-State. He also will retain development rights for seven counties in the Cincinnati area. He said most of Nicar's 25 corporate employees will continue to work for either Kahala or the local franchise, which he hopes to expand in the next several years to as many as 30 stores. The 54-year-old Lanni said he's also searching for different restaurant concepts from which he can build another franchise chain. He isn't sure what the concept will be, except that it won't compete with Kahala Corp.'s concepts. -Cincinnati Business Courier