California chain Tender Greens is getting a boost from NYC fast casual mogul Danny Meyer, in the form of a "significant minority investment," alongside Alliance Consumer Growth, a consumer-focused growth equity firm.
Meyer, whose New York-based burger chain Shake Shack recently went public, has continued to expand his fast casual offerings with the July launch of Chicken Shack, alongside his fine dining concepts spots like Gramercy Tavern. Now, Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group is investing in an outside interest for the first time in the 30-year history of the company, following Meyer's addition to Tender Green's Board of Directors. Meyer says that "Every now and then, I'll visit a restaurant and love the idea—the food, the people, the culture—so much that I wish I'd thought of it myself. That's exactly what happened with Tender Greens."
The chain, which originated in Southern California, currently has 22 locations throughout the state of California, with two in downtown San Francisco and one in Walnut Creek. The main focus is "chef-driven" fare, offering soups, salads and sandwiches like a seared Tuna Niçoise salad. And while no one is saying exactly how much will be invested in the growing salad chain, co-owner Eric Oberholtzer told The New York Times that the deal would enable the company "to help repay its earlier backers and to expand nationally," including cities like Austin, Chicago and New York.
As far as the Bay Area, there are no concrete plans for expansion, but it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to expect an increasing number of Tender Greens to start popping up in the near future. That means Bay Area residents could be on the receiving end of a big influx of salad-focused spots, with the upcoming opening of Sweetgreens in Berkeley, and continuing popularity of San Francisco-based Mixt Greens.