First Watch storefront First Watch Restaurant Group Inc.
First Watch prices its initial public offering at between $17 and $20 a share.

First Watch sets IPO share price, could raise $218 million

Daytime-dining concept prices shares at $17-$20 for debut on Nasdaq

First Watch Restaurant Group Inc. will likely debut its initial public offering on the Nasdaq market late next week, raising as much as $218 million in two grants of stock.

The Bradenton, Fla.-based company proposed offering 9.5 million shares, in a range of $17 to $20 each, which could raise more than $189.1 million, and it intended to grant underwriters a 30-day option to buy an additional 1.4 million shares, which could raise as much as $28.4 million.

“First Watch intends to use the proceeds from the proposed offering to repay borrowings outstanding under its credit facilities,” the company said in a statement.

First Watch intends to list its shares on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “FWRG.”

BofA Securities, Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and Jefferies LLC are acting as lead book-running managers in the proposed offering.

A wide variety of restaurant companies this year have filed for or announced they are considering public offerings, including Dutch Bros. Coffee., Krispy Kreme, Portillo’s and Sweetgreen.

First Watch, a daytime-dining concept, was founded in 1983 in Pacific Grove, Calif. The menu ranges from pancakes, omelets, sandwiches and salads to specialty items.

“Our one shift, from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and one main menu enable us to optimize restaurant operations and attract and retain employees who are passionate about hospitality and drawn to our ‘No Night Shifts Ever’ approach,” the company said in its prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

As of June 27, First Watch had 423 restaurants in 28 states. Of those, 335 were company-owned restaurants and 88 were franchised.

In fiscal 2020, First Watch opened 23 company-owned restaurants and its franchisees opened 19 net new locations. First Watch expects 32 net new openings in fiscal 2021.

The private-equity firm Advent International in August 2017 acquired a majority stake in First Watch from Freeman Spogli & Co. At the time, the chain had more than 300 locations in 26 states.

Contact Ron Ruggless at Ronald.Ruggless@Informa.com

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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