Skip navigation
Gen-Korean-BBQ-House-Restaurant-Group-IPO.jpg Ron Ruggless
GEN Restaurant Group Inc., the parent of this GEN Korean BBQ House location in Carrollton, Texas, has filed documents for an initial public offering.

Korean barbecue concept GEN Restaurant Group files for IPO

Casual-dining brand has 32 units in six states and joins Cava and Panera in looking at the public markets

GEN Restaurant Group Inc., which owns the 32-unit GEN Korean BBQ House concept, has filed for an initial public offering, joining a small list of brands seeking funds in the public markets this year.

The Cerritos, Calif.-based casual-dining company, in Securities and Exchange Commission Form S-! registration documents filed May 26, did not yet set the number of shares, a share price or a timetable for the Korean barbecue concept.

In the 12 months ended March 31, the company said it had revenues of $169 million and average unit volumes of $6 million. As of May 26, it had restaurants in six states, including its home state of California as well as Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, New York and Texas.

Gen Restaurant’s IPO comes amid recent updated IPO filings by Washington, D.C.-based Cava Group Inc. and the announced intention of a public offering by Panera Brands, the parent to Caribou Coffee, Einstein Bros. Coffee and Panera Bread,

GEN Korean BBQ was founded in 2011 in Tustin, Calif., by Jae Chang and David Kim. Kim was the owner of Baja Fresh Mexican Grill and La Salsa Fresh Mexican Grill. In 2016, Kim sold both brands to the MTY Food Group Inc., a Montreal-based restaurant operator, in a $27 million deal.

Because GEN Restaurant Group had less than $1.07 billion in revenue during its last fiscal year, it qualifies as an emerging growth company, or EGC, and has limited disclosure requirements, the company noted.

SEC documents said that in 2022, GEN Restaurant Group achieved a net income margin of 6.3% and a restaurant-level adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization margin of 20.5%.

The GEN Korean BBQ House concept allows customers to cook their own food.

“Because our guests serve as their own chefs,” the company said, “we believe our kitchens require a smaller percentage of our footprint than other casual-dining restaurant concepts, enabling more space for guest seating.”

“We offer an extensive menu of traditional Korean and Korean-American food, including high-quality meats, poultry, seafood and mixed vegetables, all at a superior value,” the company said in its SEC filings. “Our restaurants have modern décor, lively Korean pop music playing in the background and embedded grills in the center of each table.”

The food is served family style, “which fosters more meaningful interaction than traditional casual dining,” GEN said in its filings. “We believe our unique culinary experience appeals to a vast segment of the population, particularly Millennials and Gen Z.”

Prices generally range from $17.95 to $20.99 for lunch and $25.95 to $29.95 for dinner, the company said, except $35.95 for dinner at the Miracle Mile Las Vegas, Nev., location and $26.95 for lunch, $32.95 for regular dinner and $36.95 for late dinner at the Manhattan location.

GEN Restaurant Group said it expects “to open six or seven additional locations during the rest of 2023.” It cited possible new markets that include such states such as Georgia, Oregon, Utah and Virginia and also the District of Columbia.

“Going forward, we are targeting average net build-out costs of $3 million with AUVs of approximately $5 million for our new restaurant units,” the company said.

The company plans to list on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol "GENK."

The sole book-running manager on the public offering is Roth Capital Partners with the Craig-Hallum Capital Group and The Benchmark Co. as co-managers.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.