Cava Group Inc. officially filed registration statements for an initial public offering Friday, expanding on customer demographic and financial information from its confidential filing in February.
The Washington, D.C.-based Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant brand did not state the number of shares, a price or a timetable for the public offering in its Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
In 2018, the then-66-unit Cava acquired the publicly traded Zoe’s Kitchen Inc. Mediterranean concept of Plano, Texas, and began converting those locations in new suburban markets to ramp up its national footprint.
In 2019, before the pandemic, the company secured $190 million in Series F funding to finance those conversions and expand Cava to new markets.
“Since the Zoe’s Kitchen acquisition, through April 16, 2023, we have successfully converted 145 Zoe’s Kitchen locations into Cava restaurants, in addition to opening 51 new CAVA restaurants during such period,” the company said in its SEC filings Friday.
Cava said it had driven total revenue from $45.4 million in fiscal 2016 to $564.1 million in fiscal 2022.
For the 16 weeks ended April 16, Cava said it narrowed its net loss to $2.1 million from $20 million in the prior-year period and increased its revenues to $203.1 million to from $159 million.
Cava’s same-store sales grew 14.2% in fiscal 2022 and 28.4% for the first quarter of 2023, the filings noted. And despite high inflation rates in 2022, the company said Cava’s restaurant-level profit margin was 20.3% in fiscal 2022 with in-restaurant menu price increases of less than 5%
Cava posted an average unit volume of $2.4 million in fiscal 2022 at its 263 restaurants, the company said in its filings.
The customer base is 55% female, with a “strong Millennial and a growing Gen Z contingent” and 37% of its customer households in the over-$150,000 annual income bracket.
“We have developed an extensive multi-channel experience that consists of in-restaurant dining, digital pick-up, drive-thru pick-up, delivery, catering, and CPG [consumer packaged goods] offerings fully supported by our robust digital infrastructure,” Cava’s IPO filing noted. Cava sells products like hummus, tzatziki and feta dip through Whole Foods Market.
“The foundation of this infrastructure is a micro-services platform that is designed to easily scale with current and future growth,” the company said. “Our success across channels is reflected in our 51% growth in digital sales in fiscal 2022 and a 27% higher average guest check for digital orders compared to in-restaurant orders. Moreover, our digital guests typically engage with us in more than one channel.”
In fiscal 2022, Cava’s daypart mix was 55% lunch and 45% dinner, the filing said.
The concept was founded as Cava Mezze in Rockville, Md., in 2006 by Ted Xenochristos, Ike Grigoropoulos and Demitri Moshovitis. The trio brought in Brett Schulman as CEO and partner in 2010.
The company plans to list shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “CAVA” and to use IPO proceeds to open new restaurants and for general corporate purposes.
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