Mendocino Farms names former Darden president, Yard house founder as CEO

Mendocino Farms, a Southern California-based fast casual chain serving chef-inspired sandwiches and salads, named Harald Herrmann CEO and also announced today that TPG Growth has acquired a majority stake in it.

"I'm thrilled to be joining (founders) Mario (Del Pero), Ellen (Chen) and the Mendocino Farms team," said Herrmann, who founded The Yard House and most recently served as president of Darden's $1.5 billion Specialty Restaurant Group. "They have built a great business and culture thus far, and we look forward to introducing more Californians and consumers across the country to Mendocino Farms."

A new owner
TPG Growth, which acquired its stake from L Catterton, hopes to build on its strategy of investing in innovative retail businesses that have meaningful growth potential, according to a company press release. In September of 2016, for example, TPG Growth invested in Philz Coffee, a founder-driven, San Francisco-based coffeehouse with more than 40 units.

TPG has also invested in Airbnb, Beautycounter, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Gelson's Markets and Spotify.

"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," Sanjay Banker, partner at TPG Growth, said in the release. "Mendocino Farms has a creative culinary approach and a community-centric spirit that makes it an exciting restaurant concept with significant growth potential."

Mario Del Pero and Ellen Chen, who co-founded Mendocino Farms in 2005, will remain the largest individual shareholders. Additional terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"Mario and I have been looking for the right partners to help achieve our mission of growing Mendo, while staying true to the brand's culture and values. We are thrilled to have Harald and TPG Growth as our new partners," Chen said.

Mendocino Farms now operates 16 locations in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego.


Topics: Franchising & Growth

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