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Financing

Muscle Maker Grill prices its IPO

The struggling fast-casual chain expects to raise $7.7 million in its offering.
Photograph courtesy of Muscle Maker Grill

Muscle Maker Grill, the struggling fast-casual franchise, on Thursday priced shares for its initial public offering at $5 and expects to raise $7.7 million.

The Burleson, Texas-based company will sell 1.54 million shares of stock to the public at $5 per share and will trade on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the ticker symbol “GRIL.” The $5 was at the low end of its expected range of between $5 and $7 per share. Alexander Capital is managing the offering.

Muscle Maker plans to use most of the funds from the offering to open new company stores, sell franchises, add technology and make acquisitions.

The Muscle Maker offering is one of the strangest IPOs in the restaurant industry in years. The company filed its documents last year, even though the company acknowledged in its filing that its auditors have expressed doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a “going concern.”

While it’s not uncommon for publicly traded companies to have such warnings, it’s remarkably rare for companies to go public with such warnings.

Muscle Maker had an accumulated deficit of nearly $30 million through the end of September and acknowledged in a filing that it needed to raise $350,000 by the end of 2019 to fund its operations.

The company is also shrinking, with the number of locations declining to 39 from 53 two years ago. Same-store sales declined 12% in the first three quarters of 2019, and the company said its labor costs in the third quarter was 42.3% of sales, while food costs were 41.3%.

It also reported a $1.4 million operating loss for the period.

The offering comes two years after Muscle Maker filed for a Regulation A+ “mini IPO,” only to pull it back after it raised just $150,000. The company hoped to raise $20 million.

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