MOD Pizza Sold to Elite Restaurant Group | Franchise Mergers & Acquisitions


MOD Pizza has a new owner: Elite Restaurant Group.

MOD Pizza announced on July 10 that its new owner will be Elite Restaurant Group, after rumors that it was considering bankruptcy or sale.

MOD is a fast-casual, build-your-own-pizza franchise that charges one price for unlimited toppings. Launched in 2008 in Seattle, MOD has 512 locations, 89 of which are franchised, in 28 states and Canada.

MOD has retained the law firm Latham & Watkins as legal counsel and Miller Buckfire & Co. as its investment banker. Earlier this year, MOD hired Beth Scott as CEO to replace co-founder Scott Svenson, who is now executive chairman.

“MOD is a beloved brand with a strong following,” Scott said in a statement. “We are excited to partner with Elite Restaurant Group to strengthen MOD’s future.”

The investment required to open an MOD location ranges from $1 million to $1.3 million. The company opened 21 stores last year, ending 2023 with 552. It has closed at least 40 locations this year.

According to a statement from the brand, the deal gives Elite 100 percent ownership of MOD Pizza “pursuant to a merger agreement between the company and an affiliate of Elite.”

Elite bought the Project Pie pizza brand in 2019 and renamed it Patxi’s Pizza, a chain of deep-dish pizza restaurants that Elite acquired in 2018. Elite, led by Michael Nakhleh, also owns Slater’s 50/50 and Gigi’s Cupcakes, among others.

“MOD has a unique culture and passionate, loyal guests and employees,” Nakhleh said in a statement. “We recognize the inherent value this represents and look forward to helping MOD write the next chapter in its history.”

Elite has a weak presence on the Internet and information about it is scarce.

Related:MOD Pizza raises $33 million in equity funding to expand

One of MOD’s missions is to employ people with barriers to employment, such as people with disabilities and those who have been previously incarcerated. According to its website, 99 percent of MOD’s corporate stores have hired workers from these categories. In 2019, more than a third of MOD’s employees came from groups with barriers to employment.

A spokesperson said MOD Pizza management is not currently giving interviews.