TPG backs farm to table sandwich chain, provides exit for L Catterton

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TPG Growth has acquired a majority stake in farm-to-fresh restaurant chain Mendocino Farms from L Catterton. The target's management, led by co-founders Mario Del Pero and Ellen Chen, will remain invested in the company.

Mendoncino Farms operates 16 restaurants in California and is known for making sandwiches and salads, including "the rescued vegatable burger." According to the company, "each location partners with local farmers and food artisans to create sandwiches and salads made from local, trusted, seasonal ingredients." L Catterton invested in Mendoncino Farms in 2012.

“As we look at investing in the restaurant space, we’ve seen that consumers are not only looking for higher-quality but also uniqueness – more distinctive flavors and more elevated experiences,” says TPG Growth partner Sanjay Banker.

TPG Growth is the middle-market and growth equity arm of private investment firm TPG. San Francisco-based TPG Growth has more than $8.3 billion in assets under management. The firm is also backed by the resources of TPG’s nearly $72 billion in assets under management.

Established in 2016, L Catterton came to form through the combination of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE’s private equity group L Capital and its real estate investment unit with consumer-focused private equity firm Catterton. The consumer-focused private equity firm has managed more than $14 billion in equity capital across six fund strategies. In 2017, the firm agreed to purchase casual Mexican restaurant Uncle Julio’s.

Consumers are more focused than ever on the impact of food on their own health, as well as on the health of the environment, and they are flocking to restaurants that provide ingredients considered fresh and “natural.” In August, New York fast casual restaurant operator Fresh&co, which features seasonal organic cuisine at its 10 Manhattan locations, bought a 35-acre farm on Long Island. In July, Advent International agreed to acquire a majority stake in breakfast café operator First Watch Restaurants, which offers a mix of farm-to-table and “indulgent” menu choices, from Freeman Spogli & Co.

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