Clayton, Dubilier & Rice has acquired a significant stake in MOD Super Fast Pizza Holdings, LLC (“MOD”, the “Company”), an operator and franchisor of fast casual restaurants offering customizable, made-on-demand artisan-style pizzas and hand-tossed salads. The $150 million investment will help accelerate the Company’s continued expansion in the rapidly growing fast casual restaurant market. 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 board of directors.
With 433 locations system-wide, MOD is a purpose-led, people-focused fast casual pizza business. The MOD menu offers individual artisan-style pizzas and hand-tossed salads using any combination of over 30 toppings - all for one incredible price. Pizza is the fastest growing sub-category within the fast casual restaurant market, and MOD is the #1 fast casual pizza concept in the US by unit count, with 100+ stores opened in each of the last three years. With this additional capital, MOD plans to maintain its rapid growth across existing and new markets in the US and internationally. MOD expects to reach approximately 1,000 locations over the next five years, creating more than 14,000 new jobs.
“We could not be happier with our new MOD partnership and we look forward to working closely with management on strategies and operational initiatives to ensure that the Company profitably achieves its ambitious growth plans,” said Ken Giuriceo, CD&R Partner. “The MOD team has created an exciting, market-leading business with a truly special culture and purpose.”
In addition to continued growth, MOD plans to enhance the experience it provides customers through investments in off-premise and digital capabilities, while continuing to look for ways to use its business as a platform to make a positive social impact.
“MOD has made important investments in online and mobile app ordering, innovative digital marketing strategies and customer loyalty programs and leads its competition in virtually all relevant customer satisfaction scores,” said Mr. Pressler. “We are especially excited about the new store opening opportunity ahead of the company, which will create an even more valuable enterprise.”
Beginning with eight stores, MOD was founded in 2008 in Seattle by entrepreneurs already well known for building two successful restaurant businesses, Seattle Coffee Company and Carluccio’s. Today, the Company’s deep management team includes proven executives with broad and highly relevant experience at well-known restaurant companies such as Starbucks, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panera Bread.
Since its founding, MOD has maintained a commitment to be a force for positive social impact by doing what it does best – employing and feeding people. The Company is dedicated to creating a diverse and inclusive workforce by hiring and developing individuals who would otherwise face barriers to employment (including opportunities for youth, those transitioning out of incarceration, homelessness, rehabilitation programs and foster care, and individuals with developmental/physical disabilities). In addition to its progressive employment practices, MOD is focused on tackling food insecurity in the communities it serves. In 2018, with the help of its franchisees, MOD funded, packed and distributed nearly half a million meals to food banks and backpack programs throughout the US, and expects to create an additional one million meals in 2019.
“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 strategic partnership with CD&R 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.”
Kirkland & Ellis LLP acted as legal advisor to CD&R in the transaction. J.P. Morgan acted as sole placement agent to MOD in connection with the private placement.