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Modern Restaurant Concepts To Become One of the Largest Fast Casual Platforms in the US With the Addition of QDOBA

Butterfly Equity will acquire the Mexican fast-casual franchise QDOBA through a merger with Modern Restaurant Concepts.

By Morgan Wood1851 Franchise Contributor
Updated 10:10AM 08/09/22

In a merger with Modern Restaurant Concepts (MRC), QDOBA, the number one franchisor in the North American Mexican fast-casual space, will be acquired by Butterfly Equity with funds managed by affiliates of Apollo. This merger will boost MRC’s presence in the U.S. significantly, making it one of the largest fast-casual platforms in North America, with nearly 800 units.

MRC is currently made up of two brands: Modern Market Eatery and Lemonade. Modern Market Eatery is a sustainable fast-casual concept offering protein-centric bowls, garden fresh salads, toasted sandwiches and brick oven pizzas. Lemonade is a California-based fast-casual concept that aims to raise the standard of quality and freshness in the industry.

In a press release, CEO of Modern Restaurant Concepts Rob McColgan said, “QDOBA is an iconic brand whose reach will help us bring Modern Market and Lemonade to new consumers and franchisees around the country, particularly as we begin our own franchising journey.”

The merger will better fill out MRC’s place in the market with locations in nearly every state in the U.S. Each brand will continue system-level growth with support from MRC leadership, who believes there is space for over 3,000 additional units across the brands.

As QDOBA makes this transition, QDOBA CEO Keith Guilbault says the brand has only scratched the surface of its potential, and the food-focused nature of Butterfly will only make it stronger.

Guilbault will continue to lead QDOBA as Co-CEO of MRC after the merger is complete.

“We are proud to have supported QDOBA’s business transformation under our fund’s ownership, solidifying its position as the number one Mexican fast-casual franchisor in North America,” Apollo Partner Itai Wallach said in the release. “We are confident QDOBA will continue on its growth trajectory as part of the Modern Restaurant Concepts platform and that the talented team will be a valuable asset to the combined platform in its exciting next phase.”

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