Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill Aligns with Gemini Investors


The fast-casual concept and the private equity group partner to invest in the restaurant’s company and franchise growth

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill Aligns with Gemini Investors
Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill Aligns with Gemini Investors

Denver, CO  (RestaurantNews.com)  Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill, a Denver-based fast-casual restaurant concept offering fresh, healthy and authentic Mediterranean cuisine, announced today its partnership with Gemini Investors, a private equity firm based in Wellesley, Mass., that provides equity capital to established, middle market businesses.

“Gemini is a leader in their field and I am extremely pleased to be working alongside them to help grow Garbanzo to a nationally recognized fast-casual restaurant concept,” says Alon Mor, Garbanzo founder, president and CEO.  “This strategic partnership helps position us for long-term company and franchise expansion beyond the borders of Colorado.”

“Garbanzo is a quickly growing concept with strong franchise interest from coast to coast,” says Bob Bafundo, Garbanzo director of operations and franchise development.  “We have a very big year ahead of us with our first franchise markets slated to open later in 2012 and many more on the horizon. Our current and target franchisees are experienced, successful, multi-unit restaurant operators with one or more brands in their portfolios and in-depth knowledge of their markets.  They are looking to add a strong concept to their existing profiles in their present markets and also share our desire to provide guests with flavorful, fresh and high quality specialty foods.

“With Gemini on our team, Garbanzo has an even greater opportunity to steadily expand into new and diverse markets with franchise partners. We have our sights set on sharing our passion of healthy and authentic Mediterranean cuisine nationwide, and the support we have from Gemini will help make those goals come to fruition.”

“We are very excited to partner with Alon and the Garbanzo team in its next stage of growth,” explains Matthew Keis, a Managing Director at Gemini Investors. “From our first introduction to Garbanzo, we were quickly attracted to its leading position in a new niche of the broader fast-casual segment that we have long been believers in.  Unlike many restaurant concepts we evaluate, we were impressed that Garbanzo had built a foundation from day one to support Alon’s vision of a rapidly growing, national concept.  In addition to providing some additional capital for the company to develop outside of its home Colorado market, Gemini hopes to share our prior experiences with rapidly growing restaurant concepts and franchisors to best position Garbanzo for the successful roll out of a franchising program.”

Garbanzo offers guests a variety of healthy, high-quality Mediterranean items with an emphasis on flavor, freshness and authenticity, as well as a trans-fat free menu. Guests have the ability to customize every meal with items such as pita, laffa, falafel, shwarma, hummus, seasoned rice, sauces and dressings. All Garbanzo salads and sauces are prepared on-site daily, and the pita are made from scratch on-site throughout the day in every restaurant. Additionally, several ingredients are bought locally and some are imported directly from the Mediterranean region. The menu features simple and easy definitions and descriptions of each item in an effort to make guests feel comfortable trying food that may be new to them.

For more information about the strategic partnership, please contact Beth Hardy at (828) 308-6119 or beth.hardy@eatgarbanzo.com, or Matthew Keis at (781) 237-7001 or mkeis@gemini-investors.com. For more information about franchise development, please contact Beth Hardy at (828) 308-6119 or beth.hardy@eatgarbanzo.com.

About Gemini Investors

Gemini Investors, an investment firm located in Wellesley, Mass., manages four private equity funds with total committed capital of $450 million. Gemini participates in recapitalizations, buyouts, acquisition financing, and growth capital transactions with established companies led by experienced management teams. Gemini typically invests $3 – $8 million per transaction in either control or minority positions. Since 1993, Gemini has invested in over 80 companies across the U.S. in numerous industry sectors, with over a dozen investments in multi-unit consumer or franchised concepts.

The U.S. Small Business Administration honored Gemini as the 2009 Small Business Investment Company of the Year.

For more information about Gemini, please contact Matthew Keis at (781) 237-7001 or mkeis@gemini-investors.com.

About Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill is owned and operated in Colorado. The company’s founder, Alon Mor, grew up in the Mediterranean region and is a 15-year veteran of owning and running restaurants. St. Louis Bread Company/Panera Bread founder Ken Rosenthal is also co-founder of the company. Voted 2010 and 2011 “Best Healthy Lunch” in Denver’s 7 A-List, Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill uses only the freshest, quality ingredients with freshly baked pita daily, along with several vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. To learn more about Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill, visit www.EatGarbanzo.com.