Zoës Kitchen inks $20M credit facility

Zoës Kitchen inks $20M credit facility

Fast-casual chain plans to use growth funding to expand operations

Zoës Kitchen USA LLC has secured a $20 million credit facility through GE Capital Franchise Finance to fund its growth.

The 55-unit fast-casual Mediterranean chain, based in Birmingham, Ala., is a division of Brentwood Associates, a private-equity firm based in Los Angeles.

“Our deep relationship with both Brentwood and Zoës allowed us to quickly and efficiently deliver a financing facility to address the objectives of the company,” Rick Thompson, senior vice president of GE Capital Franchise Finance, said in a statement. The funding was provided through GE Capital’s bank affiliate, GE Capital Financial Inc.

Kevin Miles, Zoës Kitchen president, said in an interview with Nation’s Restaurant News in August [3] that the chain planned to have 60 units open by year’s end.

At the time, Miles said Zoës was looking to expand, but in a limited geographic area, intending to become a bigger regional brand.

“Our focus is from Dallas to D.C., through that Southeastern corridor,” he said.

Zoës, which has an average check of around $9.50, was also starting to look at non-traditional sites, having recently opened a unit in a football stadium.

Financing was less of a hurdle for growth than real estate, Miles said.

“With the economy the way it was, developers stopped developing new dirt, so we are sitting here with not a lot of inventory,” he said. “Those concepts that weathered the economic storm are entrenched in their markets, but there isn’t a whole lot of location-location-location as we look. We are turning over a lot of rocks. There’s a little bit of new stuff coming on, but not a lot.”

Zoës currently has 43 company-owned and 12 franchised units in six states.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected] [4].
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless [5]