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Sweetgreen files IPO; plans to double store footprint

Sweetgreen has filed for an IPO.

Sweetgreen officially filed for its initial public offering, joined the growing list of restaurant chains entering the public arena.

The health-conscious, fast-casual salad chain intends to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "SG." The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not been announced yet. 

Founded in 2006, Sweetgreen has 140 restaurants in 13 states and Washington D.C. In its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said that it planned to double its footprint during the next three to five years, opening in at least two to three new markets each year for the next three years.

“We plan to diversify our store formats by adding drive-thru and pick-up only locations to densify our markets, and to bring Sweetgreen into a wide variety of neighborhoods,” the company stated.

In its fiscal year ended Dec. 27, 2020, Sweetgreen reported a net loss of $141.2 million and revenue of $220.6 million. The chain’s same-store sales fell 26% as its downtown urban locations took a hit as workers stayed home amid the pandemic. (Strong sales in its suburban sites made up for some of the loss.)

Things are looking up this year. Same-store sales have increased 21%, as of Sept. 26, with revenues totaling $303 million. As of Sept. 26, the average unit volume for a Sweetgreen location is $2.5 million.

Sweetgreen in its filing said it intends to use the proceeds from the IPO to fund “general corporate purposes, including working capital, operating expenses, and capital expenditures,” according to the filing. The company also plans to expand its digital capabilities to meet rising off-premises demand. In August, Sweetgreen said it would acquire Spyce, a Boston-based start-up specializing in developing automated solutions for the restaurant industry.

Over the last 15 years, we have been leading a movement to re-imagine fast food for a new era," the company stated in the filing. "There is a powerful shift happening in consumer behavior. Every day more people want to eat healthier food and care about the impact their choices have on the environment. This is becoming the new normal, and we believe Sweetgreen is well-positioned to be a category-defining food brand for the future."

[Read More: Starbucks vet to head up technology at Sweetgreen]

Other restaurant chains that made their public debuts this year include Krispy Kreme, First Watch Restaurant Group and Dutch Bros.

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