Butterfly portfolio companies Lemonade Restaurant Group and Modern Market Eatery have agreed to merge and form Modern Restaurant Concepts, a restaurant platform. As part of the deal, KKR will invest in Modern Restaurant Concepts. No financial terms were disclosed. Kirkland & Ellis acted as legal adviser to Butterfly and Lemonade on the transaction while Davis Wright Tremaine did likewise for Modern Market Eatery.
LOS ANGELES, CA and DENVER, CO February 20th, 2019 – Lemonade Restaurant Group (“Lemonade”) and Modern Market Eatery today announced they have reached an agreement to merge and form Modern Restaurant Concepts, the nation’s leading better-for-you restaurant platform. Lemonade and Modern Market Eatery are portfolio companies of Butterfly, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm specializing in the food sector. As part of the transaction, global investment firm KKR will contribute its investment in Lemonade to the merger and become a shareholder in Modern Restaurant Concepts alongside Butterfly and the management team. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
With a combined footprint of 58 restaurants across 10 markets including Denver, Austin, Dallas, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Orange County, Modern Restaurant Concepts has a national presence with significant room for expansion. The Lemonade and Modern Market Eatery brands will each continue to operate and expand both in existing and new markets via corporate growth in addition to franchising and licensing.
Modern Restaurant Concepts will be led by Anthony Pigliacampo and Rob McColgan, Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of Modern Market Eatery, while Larry Kurzweil, most recent CEO of Lemonade, will resume his role as Operating Partner of Butterfly and advisor to the company.
Modern Restaurant Concepts today also announced that it has hired seasoned restaurant executive Jim Sullivan, former Chief Development Officer of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s parent CKE Restaurant Holdings, as Chief Development Officer. Sullivan brings deep experience in corporate and franchised development and will lead the company in accelerating growth including the initiation of broad franchising and licensing efforts for both concepts.
“We are thrilled to partner with Lemonade in the continued pursuit of fulfilling our mission of serving delicious, healthy food to as many people as possible,” said Pigliacampo, Co-CEO of Modern Restaurant Concepts. “This merger creates a platform with the scale necessary to truly disrupt the restaurant landscape.”
“Lemonade’s merger with Modern Market Eatery is a major inflection point in the development of both brands, and we look forward to joining forces with the Modern Market Eatery team,” said Lemonade Co-Founder Ian Olsen.
“After working extensively with Lemonade and Modern Market Eatery over the last few years, we are confident that this merger will combine two powerful brands with an incredible team,” said Butterfly Co-Founder Adam Waglay. “We’re excited to continue to work alongside these two highly-differentiated concepts to expand their footprint throughout the country and internationally,” added Dustin Beck, Butterfly’s other Co-Founder.
“With Lemonade and Modern Market Eatery under one roof, we will have an offering that will thrive in more markets and non-traditional foodservice outlets across the U.S. than any comparable single-concept company,” said Sullivan. “We look forward to partnering with franchisees and landlords across the country to bring these great concepts to their markets and customers.”
Kirkland & Ellis acted as legal advisor to Butterfly and Lemonade, while Davis Wright Tremaine acted as legal advisor to Modern Market Eatery.
About Modern Restaurant Concepts:
Modern Restaurant Concepts is a national multi-concept restaurant platform focused on better-for-you concepts. The company currently owns and operates two fast casual restaurant brands, Lemonade Restaurant Group and Modern Market Eatery. With a combined footprint of 58 restaurants across 10 markets including Denver, Austin, Dallas, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Orange County, Modern Restaurant Concepts has a national presence with significant room for expansion.
Lemonade is a California-based modern cafeteria-style fast casual concept serving a colorful bounty of seasonal, California comfort food. Raising the standard of quality and freshness in the industry, Lemonade entices time-crunched but food-savvy individuals with the simple allure of beautifully prepared salads, hearty braised meats, satisfying sandwiches, decadent desserts, and thirst-quenching, cold-pressed lemonades. Modern Market Eatery is a food forward, sustainable fast casual restaurant concept that operates in Colorado, Texas, Arizona, D.C. and Maryland. Delivering the freshness and flavors of the market in a modern dining format and environment, Modern Market Eatery’s menu of protein-centric bowls, garden fresh salads, toasted sandwiches and brick oven pizzas redefine what it means to eat well at a reasonable price. For additional information about Lemonade and Modern Market Eatery, please visit www.lemonadela.com and www.modernmarket.com.
Butterfly Equity (“Butterfly”) is a Los Angeles, California based private equity firm specializing in the food sector, spanning the entire food value chain from “seed to fork” via four target verticals: agriculture & aquaculture, food & beverage products, food distribution and foodservice. Butterfly aims to generate attractive investment returns through deep industry specialization, a unique approach to sourcing transactions, and leveraging an operations-focused and technology-driven approach to value creation. For additional information about Butterfly, please visit its website at www.butterflyequity.com.
KKR is a leading global investment firm that manages multiple alternative asset classes, including private equity, energy, infrastructure, real estate and credit, with strategic partners that manage hedge funds. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns for its fund investors by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and driving growth and value creation with KKR portfolio companies. KKR invests its own capital alongside the capital it manages for fund investors and provides financing solutions and investment opportunities through its capital markets business. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds. For additional information about KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE: KKR), please visit KKR’s website at www.kkr.com and on Twitter @KKR_Co.