Anna Graves is co-leader of Pillsbury’s Restaurant, Food & Beverage Industry Group. She 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. Her clients include major national and international restaurant chains, early-stage restaurant ventures, food and beverage manufacturers and distributors, and consumer and retail companies. Increasingly, she advises global operators as they bring their brands to the U.S. or invest in existing U.S. companies. Anna also negotiates brand licenses and extensions, restaurant management agreements, and supply and distribution agreements for restaurant 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 sale processes for Fresh Enterprises Inc., the parent of Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, by preparing and filing an underwritten S-1 registration statement with the SEC, and negotiating a $275 million sale to Wendy’s International Inc.

Professional Highlights

  • Named an Acrita Star in Acritas (part of the Thompson Reuters) annual General Counsel Survey (2021)
  • Recognized as a Notable Practitioner by Chambers USA for Retail – National (2020)
  • Named One of the Most Influential Women Lawyers in Southern California by the Los Angeles Business Journal in April 2019

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  • 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.
  • Honors & Awards
  • Super Lawyers
  • Associations
  • 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
  • Podcast
    Anna Graves discusses restaurant and food law with Harvard Law School.
  • Listen to the full podcast here:

Education

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

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

Admissions

  • California

Courts

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