Z Capital division, parent of Real Mex chain, to acquire Pink Taco

A division of Z Capital Group LLC, the Lake Forest, Illinois, alternative-investment manager, plans to acquire Pink Taco, a concept restaurant with locations in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Terms weren’t disclosed. Z Capital Partners, the firm’s private-equity-management arm, is the largest holder of Real Mex Restaurants and plans to use that chain’s experience to expand Pink Taco, Z Capital Group said in a statement. Pink Taco was founded in 1999 by the restaurateur Harry Morton, who will continue to lead its strategic marketing, Z Capital said.

Press Release

Z Capital Partners to Acquire Pink Taco Restaurant Brand

Leverages Real Mex Restaurants as Platform to Operate and Grow Pink Taco Brand

LOS ANGELES, April 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Z Capital Partners, L.L.C. (“Z Capital Partners”), the private equity management arm of Z Capital Group, L.L.C., a leading global alternative investment manager focused on opportunistic, value-oriented private equity and credit funds, today announced that one of its affiliates has agreed to acquire the “original Rock ‘n Roll Mexican” restaurant brand Pink Taco.

Z Capital Partners, the largest shareholder of Real Mex Restaurants (“Real Mex”), plans to leverage the Real Mex expertise across restaurant operations, marketing and branding to expand the Pink Taco brand, including the addition of new locations, and provide a strong platform for growth. Real Mex is the largest full-service, casual dining Mexican restaurant chain operator in the United States, with more than 100 company-owned and operated restaurants, as well as 13 franchised locations.

“Pink Taco is as original a concept as you can find,” said James Zenni, President and Chief Executive Officer of Z Capital and Chairman of the Real Mex Board of Directors. “We believe there is tremendous potential to elevate the brand and expand its unique restaurant experience both domestically and internationally.”

Founded by a third-generation restaurateur, Harry Morton, at the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas in 1999, Pink Taco has been serving its hip spin on tacos and tequila for nearly two decades. With locations in Los Angeles, California and Las Vegas, Nevada, Pink Taco is uniquely positioned as everything from the local haunt for Hollywood hipsters and celebrities to one of the most exceptional and fun places to party in “Sin City.”

Mr. Morton will continue to lead the Pink Taco creative direction as a valuable partner to Z Capital Partners. In this role, he will guide the strategic marketing of the brand, including the design and location of future restaurants, and the launch of Pink Taco-branded food and beverages for people to enjoy at home.

“When we opened the doors to the original Pink Taco, we knew we had something special,” said Mr. Morton. “With this partnership, Pink Taco will benefit from the resources needed to accelerate the full potential of our brand.”

Pink Taco is the latest concept Real Mex has added to its portfolio as part of its brand innovation initiative under the leadership of its Chief Executive Officer Bryan Lockwood.

“The timing for Real Mex to expand its operations with the addition of Pink Taco has never been better,” added Mr. Zenni. “With Bryan’s experience in both restaurant brand acquisition and brand incubation, he will lead the charge of redefining what Mexican restaurants can become with new and innovative brands and experiences.”

While Real Mex will oversee the daily operations of the Pink Taco restaurant in Los Angeles and the future direction of the brand, the Las Vegas restaurant will continue to be owned and operated by the Hard Rock Hotel. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2016.