Hargett Hunter Capital Management (“Hargett Hunter”), a North Carolina-based private equity group focused exclusively on the hospitality industry, is pleased to announce that that it has invested in Marugame Udon USA (“Marugame”) of Irvine, California. Financial terms of the investment were not disclosed. Marugame is the flagship concept for publicly traded Toridoll, a restaurant conglomerate with over $1.4 billion in sales across over 1,700 restaurants worldwide. In partnership with Toridoll, Hargett Hunter will continue the growth of this popular fast casual Japanese chain in the United States.
Marugame is dedicated to providing authentic Japanese udon noodles that taste exactly the way they’ve been served in Japan for hundreds of years. Their chefs cook fresh, handmade noodles in front of customers every day in open kitchens. Marugame’s delicious noodle offerings are complemented by a wide variety of tempura options, cooked for customers as they move through the convenient and fun cafeteria style service line. With help from Hargett Hunter, the Company aims to open over 150 of these innovative Marugame stores in the U.S. by the end of 2025 and is already responding to heightened interest among potential landlords in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and other expansion markets.
“With its delicious noodle and fresh tempura offering, Marugame has become one of the most exciting growth concepts in the Asian category today,” Hargett Hunter Managing partner Jeff Brock says. “We’re looking forward to helping expand the U.S. presence for a fast casual brand experiencing such rapid growth around the world. It’s not often you get to help build the clear leader in a category, and with over 1,000 udon shops across Asia alone, Marguame is just that.”
“We believe that this partnership will be instrumental in the development, growth, and globalization of Marugame,” Takaya Awata, founder and CEO of Toridoll Holdings Corp. says. “Hargett Hunter has a passionate and experienced team focused entirely on expanding successful restaurant chains. The funding will help Marugame’s growth in the world’s largest restaurant market, propelled by the increasing popularity of Japanese food and fast casual eateries in the United States.”
As the first investment in Hargett Hunter’s recently launched Premier Brands Fund I, Marugame is creating and rolling out a new store format as part of its U.S. expansion. Additionally, Hargett Hunter’s diverse perspective and strong reach across the food and beverage industry will support, among other things, identification of growth markets for both franchise and company-owned stores, creation of a successful franchise model, and development of a U.S. based operating team which includes executives experienced in building fast casual Asian concepts such as Mark H. Brezinski and Pete Botonis who were instrumental in the creation and growth of P.F. Chang’s Pei Wei Asian Diner.
Along with its partnership with Hargett Hunter, Toridoll will continue its efforts to grow into one of the world’s leading restaurant companies with a goal of reaching 6,000 worldwide units by 2026.
McGuireWoods LLP provided legal counsel to Hargett Hunter. BDO USA, LLP provided financial and accounting diligence to Hargett Hunter.