Cava Group, Inc., Washington, D.C., entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Zoe’s Kitchen, Inc., a Plano, Texas-based fast-casual restaurant group with 261 domestic restaurant locations. The combined companies will have 327 restaurants in 24 states.

After closing, Brett Schulman, current chief executive officer of CAVA, will serve as chief executive officer of the combined company, and will work closely with the existing leadership teams at Zoës Kitchen and CAVA to oversee growth and evolution. Ron Shaich will serve as chairman of the combined company.

“Our mission was to deliver the highest value obtainable for our shareholders, and pursuant to the transaction announced today, our shareholders will be receiving a substantial premium to the company’s unaffected stock price,” says Kevin Miles, chief executive officer of Zoës Kitchen. “I am proud of the significant work the team has executed over recent years to grow the Zoës Kitchen footprint, build brand affinity and secure a leadership position in the Mediterranean and better-for-you category. These efforts made it an attractive candidate for a transaction of this kind. I’d like to thank each and every team member who will continue to make Zoës a differentiated dining experience every day.”

“Today’s announcement is an exciting milestone for CAVA, and we’re thrilled to welcome Zoës Kitchen to our family,” adds Schulman. “Together, these two brands are united by a shared heritage and passion for exceptional Mediterranean cuisine. Now, with the addition of Zoës Kitchen, we will be able to broaden our geographic footprint and meet the needs of even more guests — whether in Bethesda or Birmingham, Plano or Pasadena — who crave delicious, healthy food without compromise. As part of the CAVA family, Zoës Kitchen will benefit from CAVA’s track record of bold culinary innovation and leveraging data and technology to drive growth and convenience.”