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QDOBA Looks to Double Its Footprint

Boosted by an injection of $305 million, Mexican eatery plans 750 added units

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QDOBA Restaurant Corp. (San Diego), a fast-casual Mexican brand, said it has closed an inaugural $305 million whole-business securitization and will use that money to undertake renovations, upgrades and aggressive expansion plans.

More specifically, proceeds from the transaction will be used mainly to refinance QDOBA’s existing senior debt facilities and provide liquidity to invest meaningfully in general corporate initiatives, such as remodeling more than 80 corporate restaurants and adding digital menu boards to 150 restaurants.

QDOBA was acquired by Los-Angeles-based Butterfly Equity in 2022 and since then has worked to create an asset-light business model by re-franchising 120 of its 750 restaurants, thereby shifting its franchise/company-owned mix to roughly 80 percent/20 percent.

In addition, the brand beefed up its c-suite earlier this year, hiring Applebee’s veteran John Cywinski as CEO and former SONIC Drive-In Head of Technology Prashant Budhale as CTO.

“We’ve experienced immense transformation over the past year and are proud to announce this transaction as we look to further QDOBA’s status as the number 2 Mexican fast-casual brand in the U.S.,” said Cywinski. “This deal positions QDOBA for accelerated investment and growth in what I believe to be the most attractive category in the restaurant industry.”

That translates into QDOBA planning to eventually grow its unit count to 1500 restaurants. (It currently has about 750 locations in the U.S. and Canada.)

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“This is more than a financial milestone; it’s a testament to our conviction in QDOBA’s capacity to propel the fast-casual Mexican sector, and we are thrilled to be a part of its remarkable growth and evolution,” said Butterfly Principal Francesco D’Arcangelo.

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