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California Pizza founders announce the launch of their operating, investment and advisory company

RBR Staff Writer Published 03 December 2013

Larry Flax and Rick Rosenfield, the visionary duo who in 1985 created California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) and built it into one of the world’s most recognizable and successful restaurant companies, will launch a new fast-casual pizza concept as one of the initial portfolio investments of Flax and Rosenfield Capital Partners, their recently founded firm.

The pair first met as Federal Prosecutors and subsequently formed their own law partnership in Beverly Hills, California. After conceptualizing and opening their first restaurant, they led CPK for 26 years, which most recently culminated in a $470 million transaction that took CPK from a publicly traded company to a privately held company.

Flax and Rosenfield are now focusing their talents on creating and operating their own brands and providing emerging and established brands with advisory services in conjunction with making select strategic equity alliances and providing capital investment. Flax and Rosenfield Capital Partners will also be acquiring and developing real estate for their own portfolio, in addition to advising landlords nationwide on maximizing the value of their properties through enhancing or repositioning their merchandise mix.

The new fast-casual restaurant venture is a natural extension for Flax and Rosenfield and will showcase their unique talents in creative dining. "The current environment allows us the perfect opportunity to develop our own unique fast casual pizza concept, and we look forward to revolutionizing the fast casual industry with our new restaurants," said Rosenfield.

"Furthermore, our many years of experience operating in various business formations within the restaurant industry has given us the distinct ability to advise others on defining the best ways to structure companies and capitalize on opportunity. As leaders of a global restaurant brand, over time we built special relationships and gained knowledge around the world that will allow our new company to offer clients and strategic partners unique and unmatched insight into every corner of the business," said Rick Rosenfield.

"In addition to straightforward expansion advice, our firm is also capable of providing strategic insight on multi-channel consumer brand growth, funding guidance, real estate development, franchising and more," added Larry Flax.

Joining Flax and Rosenfield in this venture are longtime colleagues Peter Gillette and Steve Rich.

Gillette brings more than 20 years of primary experience in operations, concept development and both international and domestic franchising. He is credited with optimizing, managing and growing the multi-million dollar franchise systems in both domestic and international markets for CPK. Gillette obtained his MBA degree from Pepperdine University.

Over his 25 year career, Rich has specialized in all aspects of real estate development, including holding executive positions with two of the world's leading property landlords, The Taubman Company (TCO:NYSE) and Simon Property Group (SPG:NYSE). As a Senior Vice President at CPK, where he met Flax and Rosenfield, Rich oversaw and directed the successful growth and expansion of CPK restaurants for several years. Rich holds a Juris Doctor degree from Michigan State University College of Law.