ACG, Union Square Hospitality invest in Tender Greens

Alliance Consumer Growth along with Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, have acquired a minority stake in Tender Greens. Financial terms weren’t announced. Tender Greens is a farm-to-fork casual restaurant chain with 22 locations across California.


LOS ANGELES, July 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Tender Greens, the farm-to-fork fine-casual restaurant concept with 22 locations across California, today announced a significant minority investment led by Alliance Consumer Growth (ACG), a leading consumer-focused growth equity firm, along with Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), the award-winning company behind some of New York City’s most beloved fine-dining restaurants. As part of USHG’s investment—the first of its kind in the company’s 30-year history—Danny Meyer will join Tender Greens’ Board of Directors. Coming in Tender Greens’ 10th anniversary year, the investment and strategic alliance will be used to grow the Tender Greens brand in California and beyond. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Named one of the “10 Best Chain Restaurants in the World” by Condé Nast Traveler, Tender Greens has quickly emerged as an innovative leader and pioneer among fine-casual restaurants since Erik Oberholtzer, David Dressler, and Matt Lyman opened the first location in 2006 on an up-and-coming street in Culver City. The company built an enthusiastic cult following by serving inspired food, friendly service, and great value in a comfortable space. Popular menu items include Big Plates served with grilled humanely-raised meats, creamy Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and a Simple Salad, Southern Fried Chicken Big Salad with a creamy dill dressing, seared albacore Tuna Niçoise, and chef-driven daily specials using the best of seasonal ingredients.

“We are thrilled and honored that USHG and ACG saw the value and the opportunity to invest in Tender Greens and introduce more people to our inspired food, passion, and friendly service. We waited to find the right partner who shares our same philosophy about building a company that we would want to work for and that everyone would love,” said David Dressler, Tender Greens co-founder. “By welcoming Union Square Hospitality Group and Alliance Consumer Growth to our table, we begin our next chapter with a strategic partner who has a collection of the finest restaurants in New York with 26 James Beard Awards to their credit, the creator of the better burger phenom Shake Shack, and their founder (and our hero) Danny Meyer on our board of directors. Not to mention access to growth and development resources we have always wanted, and a network of other special brands to collaborate with and learn from.”

“Every now and then, I’ll visit a restaurant and love the idea—the food, the people, the culture—so much that I wish I’d thought of it myself. That’s exactly what happened with Tender Greens,” said Danny Meyer, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, USHG. “Up until now, we’ve built our company by planting seeds from scratch, and then growing them ourselves. Lately I’ve been asking, ‘Whoever wrote the rule…,’ and in this case, the question was, ‘Whoever wrote the rule that we can’t also grow our company by investing in a great idea even when the seed has taken root in someone else’s garden?’ Above all, I’m so excited for USHG to champion a like-minded company whose entire team shares our passion for culinary excellence and Enlightened Hospitality.”

Stifel acted as exclusive financial advisor to Tender Greens in the transaction.

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About Tender Greens
Tender Greens is a privately held company started in June 2006, which provides healthy, farmer’s market inspired food at an affordable price to its guests in a relaxed, eco-friendly space. The company, created by Erik Oberholtzer, Matt Lyman and David Dressler, continues to expand its sustainable business practices and impart a sense of responsibility in the community through leading by example. There are currently 22 California locations in Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, and the Bay Area. The company was named on Forbes’ “America’s Most Promising Companies” list in 2014 and on Inc. Magazine’s 2013 Inc. 500|5000 list of “America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies.”

About Alliance Consumer Growth
Alliance Consumer Growth (“ACG”) is a leading growth equity fund which provides capital and value-added partnership to the most promising emerging consumer, retail, and restaurant brands. Notable restaurant companies that ACG has successfully partnered with include Shake Shack and PDQ Restaurants; and notable food and beverage product brands that ACG has backed include KRAVE Jerky (subsequently acquired by The Hershey Company), EVOL Foods (subsequently acquired by Boulder Brands), Suja Juice, barkTHINS, and Way Better Snacks.

About Union Square Hospitality Group
Union Square Hospitality Group was founded by Danny Meyer and includes some of New York City’s most beloved restaurants: Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, Jazz Standard, The Modern, Maialino, Untitled at the Whitney Museum of American Art, North End Grill, Marta, and Porchlight. The company also includes Union Square Events and Hospitality Quotient, an organizational consulting business. Danny, his restaurants, and chefs have earned an unprecedented 26 James Beard Awards.

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