Brentwood Invests in Lazy Dog Restaurant

Brentwood Associates has made a significant investment in Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar. Financial terms weren’t announced. Huntington Beach, Calif.-based Lazy Dog offers “family favorite” foods like burgers, pasta and soups with bold new flavors. Piper Jaffray & Co. advised Lazy Dog.


Huntington Beach, Calif. (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION ON JULY 29, 2013) – Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, the popular West Coast restaurant concept known for its eclectic menu of memorable family favorites reinterpreted with bold new flavors, announced that Brentwood Associates, a leading consumer-focused private equity firm, has made a significant investment in the family-run company. CEO and founder Chris Simms will continue to lead the existing management team who will retain a substantial ownership stake in the company. In partnership with Brentwood, the management team expects to continue to grow the Lazy Dog brand into one of the nation’s leading casual dining restaurant companies.

“At Lazy Dog, we’ve always focused on supporting and developing our people, enabling us to provide a high-quality experience for our guests,” said Chris Simms, CEO of Lazy Dog. “As we celebrate our 10th anniversary this August, we are pleased to have found a partner that shares our passion for hospitality and can support our continued expansion of the concept. Brentwood’s experience growing leading national brands and restaurants will be invaluable as we look toward the future.”

Simms, a third-generation restaurateur, founded Lazy Dog with the vision of providing its guests with a compelling value by offering a wide variety of craveable cuisine and cocktails, made from scratch and served with skill and genuine hospitality in a relaxed contemporary rustic environment. Since opening its first location in the Huntington Beach area in 2003, the company has grown throughout Southern California, recently opening a 12th location in San Diego. With its forward-thinking menu, Lazy Dog has distinguished itself in the upscale casual dining space, receiving industry awards and recognition, including the 2009 Hot Concept! Award from Nation’s Restaurant News.

“Lazy Dog is a highly differentiated restaurant company that has all of the key tenets we look for – fantastic food, a great culture and top-notch leadership,” said Rahul Aggarwal, Managing Director at Brentwood. “We look forward to our partnership with Chris and his team.”

Lazy Dog represents the fifth investment the firm has made in the restaurant industry in the last decade.

“We are very excited about partnering with the Lazy Dog team,” said Anthony Choe, a Partner at Brentwood. “The concept, with its loyal and highly engaged customer base and outstanding unit economics, give the company an incredible foundation for future growth.”

Chris’ father, Tom Simms, is the founder of Mimi’s Café and will sit on Lazy Dog’s board of directors, along with Chris Simms and members of Brentwood.

Lazy Dog was advised by Piper Jaffray & Co., and its legal counsel was Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. Brentwood was represented by Burr & Forman, LLP.

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Inspired by the lifestyle of the Rocky Mountains, where founder Chris Simms spent many family vacations, Lazy Dog offers the perfect environment for a quick week-night dinner, a meandering meal with old friends or a big night out. The first Lazy Dog restaurant opened in the Huntington Beach area in 2003 and showcased an eclectic menu of memorable family favorites reinterpreted with bold new flavors and served with small-town hospitality. Open for lunch and dinner daily with a full bar program that includes unique and approachable specialty cocktails, a wide selection of craft beers, and Lazy Dog’s own hand-crafted beer selection, Lazy Dog is also a perfect happy hour or game day destination. Lazy Dog currently has 12 locations throughout California – with more on the way.

Brentwood Associates is a leading consumer-focused private equity investment firm with over $850 million of capital under management and a thirty-year history of investing in leading middle-market growth companies. Brentwood focuses on investments in growing businesses where it is able to leverage its extensive experience in areas such as: branded consumer products; restaurants; and specialty retail. Since 1984, Brentwood’s dedicated private equity team has invested in 42 portfolio companies with an aggregate transaction value of over $5 billion. With significant experience in both investing and brand building, Brentwood is a value-added partner with entrepreneurs and executives building world-class companies.