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Investment firm takes majority stake in Original ChopShop

Investment firm takes majority stake in Original ChopShop

Fast-casual chain aims to quadruple in size over next three years

​Hargett Hunter Capital Partners has acquired a majority stake in Original ChopShop Co., a three-unit fast-casual chain based in Scottsdale, Ariz., the company said Monday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ChopShop co-founder Ryan Jocque said he hopes that the investment will spur the chain’s growth.

“Because of Hargett Hunter’s deep experience in the restaurant industry, they know and understand our customer and our business,” Jocque said in a statement. He will lead the chain’s brand positioning and development of future locations in the Phoenix area following the deal. “We believe that under their leadership, ChopShop can quadruple its number of locations in the next three years.”

Jocque called Hargett Hunter “by far the most collaborative group that we encountered during our process of seeking the perfect future partner.”

“This investment fits Hargett Hunter’s strategy of investing in restaurant concepts that not only resonate with customers, but also have compelling unit economics,” Jason Morgan, managing partner at Hargett Hunter, said in a statement. “We will invest in the ChopShop team and brand in order to grow quickly and profitably.”

ChopShop was founded in 2013, and serves sandwiches, salads, protein bowls and breakfast items, as well as pressed juices, protein shakes, teas and fresh lemonades. The average menu item is priced below $10.

Hargett Hunter, which is based in North Carolina, is a private investment firm founded in 2015 that invests in companies with $5 million to $100 million in annual revenue. This is Hargett’s inaugural investment, but it has deep roots in the restaurant industry.

“We have built a relationship with ChopShop for more than a year and are excited about the opportunity to invest in such a brand,” Jeff Brock, managing partner at Hargett Hunter, said in a statement. “Ryan Jocque, Caitlin Jocque, Chad Landau and Brooks Holcomb have built a unique brand, and we are excited to provide both capital and industry expertise to help accelerate the company’s growth.”

Morgan is formerly CFO of Zoe’s Kitchen Inc. Brock is a 25-year veteran of the investing and banking sectors, having worked with JPMorgan, Bank of America and GE Capital Franchise Finance, as well as the investment firm Morehead Capital.

Hargett Hunter seeks to bring their industry and financial expertise to companies considered “too small” to receive investments from traditional private-equity firms. Still, private-equity firms have been targeting smaller investments in recent years, seeking growth.

“We believe private-equity investment will continue to evolve toward our unique model of strategically matching the needs of investors to the needs of our operating companies, all while flexibly structuring around the preferred investment horizons of all stakeholders,” Brock said.

Contact Jonathan Maze at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze 

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