Joe & the Juice, a quickly growing juice bar and coffee concept based in Denmark, has received a growth investment from global private-equity firm General Atlantic, and has its sights set on more U.S. growth.
Terms of the investment were not disclosed.
General Atlantic joins existing investor Valedo Partners, a Stockholm-based private-equity firm, as minority investors in the 160-unit concept that has four locations in Manhattan, with three more on the way and many others coming.
“We’ve been extremely impressed with the performance to date,” said Andrew Crawford, managing director and global head of retail and consumer at General Atlantic. “It has a broad menu mix that follows key trends in healthy living and convenience, which we think will resonate extremely well in the U.S.”
Kaspar Basse, who founded the chain in Copenhagen, in 2002, said in an email that the chain plans to open 100 locations in the U.S. in the coming years. The chain is entirely company operated, “and that’s the way we want to keep it,” he said.
Basse said the chain’s uniqueness would help the company work well in the ultra-competitive U.S. market, which is loaded with beverage concepts.
“We are radically different in the way we operate and focus,” Basse said. “It’s impossible to imitate our way of doing things, to be honest. Luckily, we were naïve in the old days and kept thinking it would be possible one day.”
Joe & the Juice offers both coffee and freshly prepared juices, which gives the company a larger base of beverage offerings from the get-go. It also offers shakes and sandwiches. Its name comes from the popular coffee slang, Basse said, while “‘the juice’ is an expression for everything that’s cool.”
The chain is primarily based in the Nordic region of Europe and across the United Kingdom, but it also has a growing presence in Asia, and recently entered the U.S. market.
General Atlantic, which recently made its first investment in a U.S. restaurant company when it took an equity interest in Barteca Holdings last year, has been monitoring the concept for some time. It recently approached the chain, offering to make an investment.
Crawford said the thing that stands out is the chain’s early ability to thrive in multiple markets in different parts of the globe, a rarity for a restaurant company.
“The company is growing extremely rapidly throughout the world,” Crawford said. “It has units in Europe, the U.S., Asia and Australia. The concept is resonating everywhere.”
General Atlantic is an experienced investor in brands. The firm was founded in 1980 and has offices around the world, and some $20 billion in capital under management. It takes a long-term view of its investments, which have spanned many industries, including technology, financial services and healthcare.
The firm has invested in companies like Uber, Airbnb, Vox Media, Buzzfeed and Tory Burch. Indeed, in recent years it has taken a liking to retail and consumer companies.
General Atlantic will work with Joe & the Juice to help the chain expand in Asia and the U.S., Crawford said.
Joe & the Juice resonates with Millennials, Crawford said, with its use of natural and organic ingredients and its focus on health. The chain is also known for its customer service.
Basse said the chain has thrived by not focusing on the customer, but rather on its employees.
“Everything we do, we do to challenge, inspire and develop our young people,” Basse said. “Everyone else always talks about customer focus. We don’t. We focus on our people, 100 percent.”