Anna Graves, Pillsbury’s Restaurant, Food & Beverage Industry Group co-leader, adeptly handles complex M&A transactions, private offerings, joint ventures, start-up structuring and financing, and general corporate matters.

Anna represents both buyers and sellers in merger and acquisition transactions, and counsels established operating entities, start-ups, early-stage investors, major national and international companies, and late-stage investors on capital formation and structuring, private equity investments, recapitalizations, brand licensing, restaurant management and operating agreements, supply/distribution agreements, and general contractual matters. Increasingly, Anna advises global operators and investors as they bring their brands to the U.S. or invest in existing U.S. companies. Anna’s clients include large national, international, and regional restaurant chains, early-stage restaurant ventures, food and beverage manufacturers and distributors, and consumer and retail companies.

Representative Experience

Represented Jollibee Foods Corp., a Philippines-based publicly-traded company and the largest restaurant company in Asia, in its multi-stage acquisition of Smashburger for over $200M.

Serving as corporate counsel to Nando’s Restaurant Group Inc. and its affiliates in establishing and operating Nando’s restaurants in the U.S., and to Nando’s Peri-Peri USA Inc., which distributes Nando’s line of hot sauces, marinades and other packaged products in the U.S.

Advised the owners of Tijuana Flats, an iconic restaurant chain known throughout the Southeast U.S., in a restructuring and subsequent sale of a significant interest to private equity firms.

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  • Represented Shenandoah Growers, one of the leading providers of fresh herbs in the United States, in a restructuring and substantial private equity investments, and with the acquisition of HerbCo International Inc., another major fresh herb company.
  • Represented California Pizza Kitchen in its initial public offering, subsequent reincorporation in Delaware, secondary offering of shares, master distribution agreement, and numerous marketing and licensing matters.
  • Spearheaded one of the first “dual-track” IPO and potential sale transactions for Fresh Enterprises Inc., the parent of Baja Fresh Mexican Grill. Prepared/filed the IPO registration statement with the SEC and negotiated the $275 million sale to Wendy’s International Inc.

Professional Highlights

Serves as chair of the annual UCLA Extension Restaurant Industry Conference held in Los Angeles each spring (see video of 15th annual conference).

Presented “Structuring and Financing Tips for Early Stage, Angel and Private Equity Funded Restaurant Deals” at the 2013 Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in Las Vegas.

Selected to participate in the Los Angeles Business Journal’s 2013 Food and Beverage Roundtable, an open-forum, Q&A-style event featuring industry thought leaders.

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Honors & Awards

  • Super Lawyers


Chair of the UCLA Extension California Restaurant Industry Conference, held in Los Angeles each Spring

Speaking Engagements

Speaker, “What’s the right Delivery Strategy for your Brand?”, Restaurant Takeout, Delivery & Catering Symposium, Atlanta, GA, June 6, 2017

Speaker, "Mergers & Acquisitions 2009: Understanding The New World Order", Restaurant Finance & Development Conference, Las Vegas, NV, November 10, 2008

Quoted In

"Seeking Private Equity: Here's How" Restaurant, Development + Design, by David Farkas

"PE Firms Take New Risks as Restaurant Industry Heats Up" Natalie Rodrigues, Law360, February 13, 2014

Anna Graves discusses restaurant and food law with Harvard Law School.

Listen to the full podcast here:


  • J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1985

    A.B., Cornell University, 1981
    cum laude, with distinction in all subjects


  • California


  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California