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Sweetgreen_IPO-Shares-soar.gif Sweetgreen
Sweetgreen Inc.'s IPO shares begin trading, ending day up 76%.

Sweetgreen IPO shares soar 76% on first trading day

140-unit fast-casual brand’s stock debuts on the public market

Sweetgreen Inc.’s initial public offering began trading Thursday, closing at about 76% above its pricing of $28 a share.

The Los Angeles-based fast-casual brand’s stock opened at $52 a share Thursday afternoon and traded in a range of $46.01 to $56.20 a share. Shares closed above $49, up about 76%.

Earlier in November, Sweetgreen had said in Securities and Exchange Commission filings that it expected to sell its stock for $23 to $25 a share.

In the 12 months ended Sept. 26, the company in its SEC S-1 filing said it had average annual unit volume of $2.5 million and annualized revenue of $303 million.

Jonathan Neman, Sweetgreen co-founder and CEO, said Thursday in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,that the company is not yet profitable.

For fiscal 2020 ended Dec. 27, Sweetgreen reported a net loss of $141.2 million and revenue of $220.6 million.

But Neman said Sweetgreen has invested in technology to make its food accessible, convenient and frictionless.

“We introduced the five-channel model,” Neman said, “where you can order pick up, delivery on our own app, delivery on the marketplaces and we're always looking to make it more convenient to order. So drive-thru is one of those ideas, and we're going to be constantly thinking of other ways to meet our customers wherever they are.”

In August, Sweetgreen announced it would acquire Boston-based Spyce, a two-unit bowls-based concept known for its robotics.

Neman added that the company has both urban and suburban locations, and the brand is fitting into consumers’ shifting preferences.

“There's a complete shift in how people think about food from a health perspective, a sustainability perspective, wanting to connect with brands that really stand for something,” he said, “and we believe Sweetgreen is positioned at the center of this movement.”

He added that Sweetgreen sees itself building “the McDonald's of our generation, so eventually we want it to be everywhere, but we're taking a disciplined approach and how we get there.”

Sweetgreen, founded in 2006, has 140 units in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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