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TPG Growth Invests in Mendocino Farms

TPG Growth, the middle market and growth equity platform of alternative asset firm TPG, today announced that it has acquired a majority stake in Mendocino Farms, a Southern California-based restaurant chain serving chef-inspired sandwiches and salads. TPG Growth acquired its stake from L Catterton. 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.

Harald Herrmann will also be joining Mendocino Farms as CEO. Herrmann is a seasoned restaurant executive who most recently served as President of Darden’s $1.5 billion Specialty Restaurant Group, which includes well-recognized and unique concepts such as The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Eddie V's, and Bahama Breeze. Prior to that, Herrmann co-founded The Yard House, led its expansion to one of the most successful independent restaurant chains in the US, and was named President and CEO in 2007.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Mario, Ellen, and the Mendocino Farms team,” said Herrmann. “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.”

“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,” said Co-Founder Ellen Chen.

Mendocino Farms now operates restaurants across 16 locations in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego. Focused on mindful sourcing, each location partners with local farmers and food artisans to create sandwiches and salads made from local, trusted, seasonal ingredients. Furthering this commitment to quality, Mendocino Farms offers an elevated hospitality experience with interiors that rival polished casual restaurants.

“Mendocino Farms is revolutionizing the restaurant industry with chef-driven food made from the best ingredients, served by passionate people, in an inviting neighborhood gathering place,” said Mario Del Pero, Co-Founder of Mendocino Farms. “TPG Growth is the ideal partner to help Mendocino accelerate our next stage of growth while staying true to our values. Ellen and I also couldn’t be more excited to have Harald as our CEO; his soulfulness and mindfulness are legendary and a perfect fit for our team.”

“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,” said Sanjay Banker, Partner at TPG Growth. “Mendocino Farms has a creative culinary approach and a community-centric spirit that makes it an exciting restaurant concept with significant growth potential. We look forward to working with Mario, Ellen, and Harald to continue building the business.”

This investment builds on TPG Growth’s strategy of investing in innovative retail businesses that have meaningful growth potential. In September of 2016, TPG Growth invested in Philz Coffee, a founder-driven, San Francisco-based “third wave” coffeehouse with over 40 locations well-known for unique custom blends, inviting environments, and a passionate consumer following. Across its platforms, TPG has a history of identifying and investing in strong consumer brands, including Airbnb, Beautycounter, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Gelson’s Markets, and Spotify.