IRVING, Texas, Aug. 3, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Cheddar's Casual Cafe, Inc. is delighted to announce the appointment of Kelly C. Baltes as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Cheddar's is a leading multi-concept "classic American" casual dining restaurant company with 63 system-wide stores in 16 states, having collective revenues of over $255 million. The late Aubrey G. Good and current Vice Chairman Douglas H. Rogers founded Cheddar's in 1978. To-date, the company has opened 30 company stores including 28 Cheddar's Casual Cafes and 2 Fish Daddy's Grill Houses, and 33 franchise stores, operated by 12 franchisees.

An accomplished industry executive with 22 years experience, Baltes was most recently Executive Vice President, Darden Restaurants, Red Lobster Restaurants. Responsible for the operations of over 685 restaurants, Baltes was formerly Senior Vice President, in the Olive Garden division. Baltes also was Vice President of Operations for the Western Region of Uno Restaurants, Inc. where he was a subsidiary officer and member of the Franchise Steering Committee. Baltes is a graduate of The University of Phoenix with a BS and Auburn University with a MBA degree.

Reflecting upon his new responsibilities, Baltes commented, "It is with deep respect and great excitement that I look forward to leading and expanding the great Cheddar's icon brand. I have always had great affection for the company and am delighted to be joining Cheddar's as we embark on this strategically focused growth phase of the company's history. The existing management team and I are going to accomplish great things together."

Baltes, along with his wife and two young children, are looking forward to relocating to the Dallas area.

Cheddar's is principally co-owned by Oak Investment Partners and Catterton Partners, two premier U.S. equity investment firms, each with a long history of building and expanding superior restaurant and retail companies. Mr. Jerry Gallagher, General Partner, Oak Investment Partners said, "I think Kelly has the interpersonal skills, strategic vision and operating experience to lead Cheddar's through an evolution from a highly successful regional company to a great national chain." Also commenting, Frank Vest, Partner, Catterton Partners added, "We believe that under Kelly's leadership, Cheddar's will enhance the strong relationships that Cheddar's already has with its vendor, franchise, and employee partners, to assure that Cheddar's will continue to be an industry-leading casual dining dinner-house restaurant chain.

About Oak Investment Partners:

Established in 1978 and with over $8.4 billion of committed capital, Oak Investment Partners is a venture capital firm with a strong track record as a multi-stage investor. Oak's investment strategy focuses on growth opportunities in enterprise application and infrastructure software, outsourced services, communications equipment and services, advanced semiconductors, financial information technology, healthcare technologies, and retail. With offices in Westport, CT, Minneapolis, MN, and Palo Alto, CA, Oak concentrates on building long-term relationships with experienced management teams to develop successful companies that deliver consistent performance over time. Oak has invested in more than 435 companies since its inception and, in addition to their co-investments with Catterton Partners, their retail and restaurant investments have included companies such as Dick's Sporting Goods, Filene's Basement, Jamba Juice, Lucy's Activewear, Office Depot, PetsMart, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Ulta Salons and Whole Foods. Oak and Catterton have co-invested in the past in such companies as P.F. Chang's, Baja Fresh, Caribou and La Madeleine. More information about the firm can be found at

About Catterton Partners:

With more than $2 billion under management, Catterton Partners is a leading private equity firm in the U.S. focused exclusively on the consumer industry. Since it's founding in 1990, Catterton has leveraged its investment capital, strategic and operating skills, and network of industry contacts to establish one of the strongest investment track records in the consumer industry. Catterton considers investments across a number of targeted consumer industry "verticals": Food and Beverage, Retail and Restaurants, Consumer Products and Services, and Media and Marketing Services. Catterton's unique combination of value-added resources has resulted in the creation of numerous market leading companies. In addition to their co-investments with Oak Investment Partners, Catterton has led investments in companies such as Build-A-Bear Workshop, First Watch Restaurants, Fredric Fekkai, Kettle Foods, Farley's and Sathers Candy Co., Titan Outdoor, Pharmaceuticals Holdings, Inc., Gold Coast Beverage Distributors, Odwalla, Inc. and Wellness Pet Food. More information about the firm can be found at

Cheddar's Casual Cafe
Douglas Rogers,
Vice Chairman and Co-Founder