Sweetgreen on Monday became the latest restaurant company to go public with its long-awaited move onto the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol SG.
First launched in 2007 in Washington, D.C., the healthful fast-casual concept has grown to 140 units in 13 states. Now based in Los Angeles, Sweetgreen boasts an average unit volume of $2.5 million, the company said in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Sweetgreen, like most restaurants, took a hit in 2020 with a decline in in-restaurant sales in central business districts, though the downturn was offset by strong sales in suburban locations, the company said.
Positive momentum returned in 2021, though sales slowed again in the third quarter as the Delta variant spread and mask and vaccine mandates delayed the return to offices. Year to date through Sept. 26, same-store sales were up 21% for the chain compared to a decline of 26% the same period the prior year.
Sweetgreen reported revenues of $303 million in 2021 through Sept. 26, with about 68% of that revenue coming from digital orders. But the chain reported a net loss of $86.9 million year to date, an improvement from the loss of $100.2 million for the same period a year ago.
Still, the prospectus outlined a brand well positioned for recovery with whitespace for growth, both domestically and internationally
The company plans to open at least 30 domestic units in 2021 and to double the current footprint over the next three to five years, according to the filing. The goal is to open in at least two to three new markets each year for the next three years.
And Sweetgreen expects to grow its digital capability with secondary make lines that allow restaurants to handle more order volume without adding to costs or square footage, which the company said would allow it to adapt to rising off-premises demand.
And new drive-thru and pick-up-only formats allow the concept to move into a wider variety of neighborhoods.
Sweetgreen follows a number of restaurant companies that went public this year, including Portillo’s, Krispy Kreme, Dutch Bros and First Watch. Torchy's Tacos was also rumored to be considering an IPO.
CORRECTION: An earlier version incorrectly stated Torchy's Tacos was among restaurant companies to go public this year. Torchy's is rumored to be considering an IPO.
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