Bob Evans Farms Inc. said on Monday it has agreed to sell the 145-unit casual-dining Mimi’s Café to Le Duff America Inc. for $50 million.
Columbus, Ohio-based Bob Evans said the sale to the Dallas-based division of Groupe LeDuff would allow it to focus on its 565 family Bob Evans restaurants.
LeDuff America, which owns and franchises the Bruegger’s Bagels, Brioche Doree and La Madeleine Country French Café concepts, as well as the Timothy’s Coffee and Michel’s Baguette brands, agreed to pay $20 million in cash and note of $30 million. The company expects the sale to be completed in 45 days.
Bob Evans had announced in November its intent to seek buyers for the French-themed Mimi’s brand, which has units in 24 states, primarily in the West and Southwest.
“After closing the sale, Bob Evans will have reset itself to better focus efforts and investments on achieving our long-term commitment to grow earnings per share 8 percent to 12 percent annually,” Steve Davis, Bob Evans chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. Davis added that the company was intent on its “Farm Fresh Refresh” remodeling initiative at its Bob Evans Restaurants.
The company also said it expects to provide transitional support services on a contractual basis to Mimi's Cafe after the close of the deal, with LeDuff to continue operating and managing the company out of its Irvine, Calif., office.
Claude Bergeron, chairman and co-CEO of Le Duff America, added that Mimi’s Café “embodies our passion for French-inspired cuisine and ambience coupled with our 'Joie de Servir' or the Joy of Service.”
He added, “We are very excited by the potential of the brand and look forward to leveraging a number of operating synergies along with our combined expertise to further enhance Mimi's Cafe position in the market and to introduce it to numerous communities across North America."
Bob Evans Farms bought Mimi’s in 2004 for a reported $103 million, including the assumption of about $79 million in debt. The company owns and operates full-service restaurants in 19 states.
Groupe LeDuff, the parent to Le Duff American, has annual sales of more than $1.53 billion and more than 1,100 restaurants and bakeries.