REAL ESTATE

Fast-casual restaurant brand raises more funding, sets aggressive growth

BY Marianne Wilson

The fastest-growing restaurant chain in the U.S. is flush with new capital to help it meet its ambitious growth target.

Mod Pizza said that it has raised another $160 million of equity financing in a round led by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. The Seattle-based artisan-style pizza chain has now raised approximately $339 million of equity to date. The new funding will be used to help the company expand to about 1,000 locations during the next five years, which will more than double its size. During 2018, Mod grew its footprint 34% by adding 102 locations, ending the year with a total of 404 sites across 28 states and the U.K.

In addition to continued growth, Mod plans to accelerate initiatives to grow digital ordering channels, off-premise solutions, its loyalty program and personalized marketing programs while continuing to look for ways to use its business as a platform to make a positive social impact.

Mod, a 2017 winner of Chain Store Age’s Breakout Retailers Awards, was founded in 2008 with a “people-first” mission. It is well known for its support of local non-profits and for its employee-centric culture.

“Over the past 11 years, we have built Mod upon a conviction that we could build a best-in-class business by putting our people and the communities we serve first,” said Scott Svenson, co-founder and CEO, Mod Pizza. “This investment is further validation of our belief that profit and positive social impact can co-exist. We are incredibly energized by the opportunity to work with CD&R to scale the Mod brand, while continuing to build our people-first, purpose-driven culture.”

Ken Giuriceo, CD&R partner, and Paul Pressler, CD&R partner and former CEO of Gap Inc. and senior Disney executive, will both join the Mod Pizza board of directors. The latest funding comes as Mod posted $398 million in system-wide sales in 2018, a 45% year-over-year increase. Domestic system-wide same-store sales grew 3.1%.

Added Giuriceo: “Mod has clearly proven that building a business around a meaningful and authentic purpose can align and inspire the team to produce incredible results. The company is poised to continue its rapid growth, and we are thrilled to join their talented team of industry veterans to further develop and strengthen the Mod business and brand.”

Mod has a long-standing commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workforce by hiring and developing individuals who would otherwise face barriers to employment (including opportunity youth, those transitioning out of incarceration, homelessness, rehabilitation programs and foster care, and individuals with developmental/physical disabilities).

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