Private equity firm and Modern Market Eatery parent company, Butterfly Equity, announced Tuesday the intent to acquire fast-casual chain, Qdoba Mexican Eats for an unspecified amount. The transaction, which is expected to close in Q3 2022, will merge Modern Restaurant Concepts (comprised of Modern Market Eatery and Lemonade) with Qdoba into one fast-casual restaurant platform, though all three will continue to operate separate brands.
Butterfly Equity is a healthy and organic food-focused private equity firm, with other portfolio investments including Bolthouse Farms and Chosen Foods.
“With this transaction we could not be more excited to bring together three incredible brands in Qdoba, Modern Market and Lemonade to form one of the leading next-generation restaurant platforms,” Adam Waglay, cofounder and CEO of Butterfly Equity said in a statement. “Together these brands are perfectly positioned for the future with craveable food, flexible and affordable menu choices, and a powerful off-premise setting.”
Together, all three brands will comprise of 800 restaurants nationally in nearly every U.S. state, with plans to nearly quadruple in size across all three brands. As of Tuesday, Modern Market announced a new multi-unit franchise development agreement with a national franchisee to bring 40 new Modern Market units to seven states. Qdoba also has a plan to open 300 new units over the next five years.
“We are incredibly excited to partner with Butterfly in the next phase of Qdoba’s journey alongside Modern Market and Lemonade,” Keith Guilbault, current Qdoba CEO, who will become the co-CEO of Modern Restaurant Concepts alongside Rob McColgan, said in a statement. “We’ve only scratched the surface of Qdoba’s potential to date and Butterfly’s food focus will only strengthen our ability to grow and deliver great food to our loyal customers.”
Asset manager King Street Capital Management is investing alongside Butterfly Equity. Butterfly was advised by Kirkland & Ellis LLP on legal matters and Qdoba/Apollo Foods were advised by Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Morgan, Lewis and Bockius LLP.
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