Lemonade Restaurant Group and Modern Market Eatery announced a merger agreement Wednesday, forming a health-focused restaurant group called Modern Restaurant Concepts.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Both Lemonade and Modern Market Eatery are owned by Butterfly, a Los Angeles-based private-equity firm. Butterfly acquired healthy fast-casual brand Modern Market a year ago.
Global investment firm KKR will invest in Lemonade as part of the transaction, to become a shareholder in Modern Restaurant Concepts with Butterfly.
The two brands will continue to operate and grow as separate concepts. They currently operate a total of 58 restaurants across 10 markets.
Co-founders and co-CEOS of Modern Market Eatery Anthony Pigliacampo and Rob McColgan will lead the new restaurant group.
Lemonade, a cafeteria-style fast-casual brand specializing in seasonal, California comfort food, was helmed by Larry Kurzweil, former president and COO of Universal Studios Hollywood. Under the merger, Kurzweil becomes an operating partner of Butterfly and an adviser to the company.
Jim Sullivan, former chief development officer of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s parent company CKE Restaurant Holdings, will become chief development officer of Modern Restaurant Concepts, the company announced. He’ll lead the new company in the startup of franchising and licensing efforts for both concepts.
“This merger creates a platform with the scale necessary to truly disrupt the restaurant landscape,” Pigliacampo said in a statement.
Sullivan said the mergers will allow both concepts to grow.
"With Lemonade and Modern Market Eatery under one roof, we will have an offering that will thrive in more markets and non-traditional foodservice outlets across the U.S. than any comparable single-concept company," Sullivan said. "We look forward to partnering with franchisees and landlords across the country to bring these great concepts to their markets and customers."