Despite the industry’s current traffic woes, neither investors nor operators can forget the reception Shake Shack got on Wall Street two years ago with its initial public offering. The excitement revved up the concept’s valuation to $1.6 billion. At the time, the chain had 63 stores and a net profit of $5.4 million.
Reports this week suggested Cafe Rio, the 100-unit fast-casual chain owned by the private-equity firm KarpReilly, may be looking at an IPO. KarpReilly is the former owner of The Habit, another operation that was enthusiastically gobbled by Wall Street.
Also possibly heading for a stock offering: Pret A Manger, the grab-and-go urban concept that was once controlled by McDonald’s. The current owner, London-based Bridgepoint Advisers, has confirmed that it’s exploring a U.S. stock offering for Pret, which has 74 stores on this side of the pond.
Meanwhile, Jack in the Box says it’s exploring options for its secondary concept, Qdoba, though most observers say a sale to a private party is a stronger possibility.