Gen Restaurant Group raises $43.2M in its IPO

The operator of Gen Korean BBQ priced its shares at the high end of their range and increased the size of its offering.
Gen Korean IPO
Gen Korean BBQ priced its shares at the high end of its expected range. | Image courtesy of Gen Restaurant Group

Gen Restaurant Group, operator of Gen Korean BBQ, on Tuesday said it increased the size of its initial public offering and priced its shares at $12.

The price and the larger offering size enabled the Cerritos, Calif.-based company to raise $43.2 million in its IPO.

The $12 per share was at the high end of the company’s expected range of $10 to $12. That, and the larger size of the offering, are indicative of high demand for Gen’s shares leading up to the offering. The company will start trading on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol GENK.

The company's stock soared more than 40% in early trading on Wednesday but closed at $15.34 per share, up 28%. 

Gen Korean is a largely regional chain with 34 locations in seven states out west. The company generated revenue of $43.9 million in the first quarter. Restaurant-level EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, was 19.2% of sales.

The company was founded in 2011 in Tustin, Calif., and features a menu of Korean entrees that customers cook themselves on a grill in the middle of the table. Customers are also served an assortment of side dishes, or banchan, and the restaurants feature Korean pop music. Prices typically range from $26 to $30, though in its Las Vegas location that increases to $33 to $37.

The chain was founded by Jae Chang, a longtime restaurateur, and former Baja Fresh Mexican Grill owner David Kim.

The company plans to use the funds for general corporate purposes, including new restaurant openings.

The popularity of the IPO is likely to lead other companies to consider their own initial public offerings. It follows the successful IPO earlier this month of Cava, whose shares doubled on its first day of trading. Several restaurant chains including MOD Pizza, Panera Brands and Fogo de Chao are also expected to go public at some point, and restaurant chain collector Fat Brands has said it would take public its Twin Peaks concept.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


As restaurant tech consolidates, an ode to the point solution

Tech Check: All-in-one may be all the rage, but there’s value in being a one-trick pony.


Steak and Ale comes back from the dead, 16 years later

The Bottom Line: Paul Mangiamele has vowed to bring the venerable casual-dining chain back for more than a decade. He finally fulfilled that promise. Here’s a look inside.

Consumer Trends

Fast food has lost its reputation as a cheap meal

Years of price hikes are driving consumers to grocery stores and even full-service restaurants, which are now viewed by some as a better deal.


More from our partners