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    LYFE Kitchen Sold to Chicago-Based L3 Hospitality

  • The brand, started by former McDonald's execs, once had big growth plans.

    LYFE Kitchen had three units remaining.

    Carlisle Corp. closed its LYFE Kitchen location in Memphis, Tennessee, and then announced it was selling the remaining three units to Chicago-based L3 Hospitality.

    Per the Memphis Business Journal, Carlisle CEO Chance Carlisle said: "LYFE Kitchen was a fantastic brand that looks to change how we perceive ‘healthy food.’ Unfortunately, as we aligned our strategic priorities, we did not have the time or resources necessary to fulfill Lyfe’s potential and felt a divesture made sense [for] all parties.”

    L3 Hospitality released a statement, saying the company was “excited to have this opportunity to own the LYFE Kitchen brand and remains focused on their long-term strategy to grow the brand in their hometown.”

    "We are proud of the local LYFE Kitchen brand we have developed in Chicago and are thankful for the opportunity to make additional enhancements. We will continue to distinguish LYFE Kitchen by bringing a delicious, fulfilling dining experience to our friends and neighborhoods in the city we love most,” said Gail Taggart, co-founder L3 Hospitality.

    Following the sale, Carlisle Corp. will shift focus to its 152 Wendy’s franchises and on One Beal, a $135 million mixed-use development the company has worked on for more than 10 years.

    Carlisle Corp. acquired a minority stake in LYFE Kitchen in 2014 and bought the brand two years later. In 2014, it had 15 restaurants scattered across Nevada, California, Illinois, and Texas. It shuttered four late 2017 and has closed more in recent months. All of the current stores are in Chicago.

    The first LYFE Kitchen was located in health-conscious Palo Alto, California. After using that store as an incubator for two years, a second LYFE Kitchen opened in Culver City, California, in 2013. The concept then expanded in California and moved into Texas, New York, Colorado, Nevada, and Illinois.

    LYFE, which is an acronym for ‘Love Your Food Every Day,’ was started by a team that included two former McDonald’s executives—Mike Roberts, its former global president, and Mike Donahue, the ex chief of corporate communications of McDonald’s U.S. arm. Stephen Sidwell, a former executive at Gardein, a plant-protein food producer, was the other team member. The chain once touted ambitious growth plans, calling for 250 addition restaurants within a five-year period. The “fresh casual” chain touted a menu where every dish came under 600 calories with less than 1,000 milligrams of sodium. The locations also featured indoor herb gardens and wine on tap.

    L3 Hospitality operates Kinship and Next of Kin in Evanston, Illinois.

    “L3 Hospitality believes their success lies in the ability to create memorable guest experiences, and is grateful to the loyal customer community they have built in Chicago. With a mission to create delicious food served by friendly people in vibrant environments, their continuously improving sales trends are proof of this successful formula,” the company said.