Los Angeles, CA, June 5, 2012 – Mendocino Farms, the premier gourmet sandwich market, in conjunction with its investment partner, GrowthPoint Partners, today announced a capital investment by Catterton Partners, the leading consumer-focused private equity firm. The investment, which is being made from Catterton Growth Partners, L.P., will be used to foster the expansion of the Mendocino Farms concept throughout Southern California and eventually to new geographic regions. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Mendocino Farms is a rapidly growing fast casual restaurant concept that is redefining the neighborhood sandwich shop – taking a fine dining approach to developing gourmet and classic sandwiches through its use of premium ingredients and unique flavor 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. Mr. 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. Mr. 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.
Mr. Del Pero commented, “With significant experience working with top restaurant chains such as Cheddar’s, First Watch, Outback Steakhouse, Noodles & Company and P.F. 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, O.N.E. (One Natural Experience) coconut water, Van’s Natural Foods, and Sweet Leaf Tea, which we believe will be invaluable as our brand matures.”
“Mendocino Farms is an extremely unique restaurant concept and Mario is the most dynamic founder/CEO with whom I have ever had the opportunity to work,” said Nick Marsh of GrowthPoint Partners. “Mario has taken the gourmet sandwich to a whole new level while offering the hospitality of a local neighborhood sandwich place. It is a unique combination and represents a step forward for ‘fast casual.’ With Catterton’s resources, deep experience in the restaurant space and track record of helping guide young concepts to tremendous success, we now have a partner that will help us reach our full potential.”
“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,” said Jon Owsley, 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.”
About Mendocino Farms
Founded in 2005, Mendocino Farms is a Los Angeles-based sandwich concept that promotes a farm-to-table philosophy by using local, seasonal ingredients in its sandwiches, salads and soups. As the premier gourmet sandwich company, Mendocino Farms aims to reconstruct fine dining entrees to the sandwich level and take classic regional sandwiches and give them a modern interpretation.
The menu created by the founder, Mario Del Pero and Chef Partner Judy Han features adventurous takes on traditional sandwiches like the Pork Belly Banh Mi with caramelized Kurabuta pork belly and the "Not So Fried" Chicken with fresh roasted Petaluma Farm's free range chicken, fried crispies and finished with a house pickle-mustard slaw.
For more information, please visit mendocinofarms.com
About GrowthPoint Partners
GrowthPoint Partners was founded by Nick Marsh to help early stage restaurant concepts develop a successful foundation for expansion. GrowthPoint provides capital and is actively involved with its partner concepts. GrowthPoint became the lead investor in Mendocino Farms in 2008 when the Company had one restaurant. GrowthPoint became the lead investor in Chop’t Creative Salad Company in 2007 when the Company had two restaurants. Nick Marsh currently serves as CEO of Chop’t.
About Catterton Partners
With more than $2.5 billion currently under management and a twenty-three year track record of success in building high growth companies, Catterton Partners is the leading consumer-focused private equity firm. Since its founding in 1989, Catterton has leveraged its category insight, strategic and operating skills, and network of industry contacts to establish one of the strongest private equity investment track records in the middle market consumer industry. Catterton Partners invests in all major consumer segments, including Retail and Restaurants, Consumer Products and Services, Food and Beverage, Consumer Health, and Media and Marketing Services. Catterton's investments include: Restoration Hardware, First Watch Restaurants, Cheddar's Casual Café, Noodles & Company Restaurants, P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Frederic Fekkai, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Kettle Foods, Odwalla and Sweet Leaf Tea. More information about Catterton Partners can be found at http://www.cpequity.com.
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