Catterton Partners invests in Mendocino Farms
Private equity firm Catterton Partners has made a capital investment in Mendocino Farms, the rapidly-growing gourmet sandwich casual restaurant brand.
Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed but Mendocino Farms plans to use the investment to fund expansion throughout Southern California and eventually to new geographic regions.
Mendocino Farms takes a fine dining approach to developing gourmet and classic sandwiches through its use of premium ingredients and unique flavour combinations with a value-conscious focus. The Mendocino Farms name and concept pay tribute to the county in Northern California that is known for its support of the slow food movement and sustainable farming. With an attractive price point and a long open kitchen that can serve high-volume traffic, Mendocino Farms' five Los Angeles-based restaurants have attracted a loyal following seeking fresh, fast meals with sophisticated ingredients and a gourmet twist. Since its inception in 2005, Mendocino Farms has consistently achieved industry-leading same-store-sales and unit-level economics.
The Company was founded by Mario Del Pero and his wife and business partner, Ellen Chen. Del Pero is an industry veteran known for innovative restaurants such as Skew's, a hybrid fast food concept incorporating beach elements from Baja California and Hawaii, and Blue Cow Kitchen. Del Pero will continue to lead Mendocino Farms as CEO, taking advantage of the significant financial and strategic resources created by the partnership with Catterton.
Del Pero says: "With significant experience working with top restaurant chains such as Cheddar's, First Watch, Outback Steakhouse, Noodles & Company and PF Chang's, Catterton is the right partner to help us take our unique restaurant concept to the next level. We are proud of the business we have built and have immensely valued our partnership with GrowthPoint over the past four years. GrowthPoint founder Nick Marsh has been instrumental in helping us develop the foundation for our company to prepare for future growth, and with Catterton, we will continue to develop our concept and significantly expand Mendocino Farms. Not only does Catterton have a track record of success with restaurants, but they also have expertise helping to grow brands that promote all-natural ingredients such as Plum Organics, ONE (One Natural Experience) coconut water, Van's Natural Foods, and Sweet Leaf Tea, which we believe will be invaluable as our brand matures."
"We are extremely excited to partner with Mario, Ellen, the team at Mendocino Farms and GrowthPoint, and look forward to supporting the Company's brand development and growth," says Jon Owsley (pictured), a Partner at Catterton. "Mendocino Farms is redefining the sandwich category through its creative culinary approach to developing gourmet sandwiches using only the finest ingredients, in a setting that has a modern yet rustic aesthetic, and with a service model and execution that is best-in-class. We look forward to growing the Mendocino Farms brand and helping to expand the concept's geographic footprint beyond its current Los Angeles locations."
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