Mendocino Farms on Tuesday named Kevin Miles its CEO as the company plots its expansion outside of California.
Miles takes over for Harald Herrmann, who took a job in February leading the nonprofit Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County.
Mario Del Pero, Mendocino Farms’ co-founder, in a statement called Miles “an exceptional leader with incredible experience growing promising regional brands into beloved national concepts while protecting and building upon their unique cultures.”
In Miles, Mendocino Farms gets a 25-year industry veteran who spent nine years at the helm of Zoes Kitchen, guiding the chain through its 2014 initial public offering and its ultimate sale to Cava Group.
“Kevin shares the values that have brought us this far, including an unwavering commitment to our community, our team, and our vendor partners,” said Mendocino Farms co-founder Ellen Chen in a statement.
Miles takes the helm of a Los Angeles-based fast-casual chain that has enjoyed strong growth and is just now branching out into new markets. The 28-unit chain just opened its first of several planned locations in Houston, providing a key test for the concept outside of its core California home.
Herrmann took over as CEO in 2017 after private equity firm TPG Growth made an investment in the chain, which counts Amazon among its investors thanks to a 2015 investment from Whole Foods Market.
Miles’ appointment “marks a key milestone in Mendocino Farms’ journey,” said Chris Kelly of TPG Growth in a statement.
Mendocino Farms has enjoyed robust sales growth over the years. System sales rose nearly 38% last year to $75.7 million, according to data provided to Restaurant Business. The upscale sandwich and salad chain boasts average unit volumes of $3.8 million.
“Mendocino Farms has earned its outstanding reputation and strong brand affinity by building authentic relationships with its local communities and investing in an innovative chef-driven menu, an elevated and engaging dining experience, and best-in-class hospitality driven by a robust training program,” Miles said in a statement.