Starbird, a tech-driven fast-casual chicken chain, has received a $4 million investment to fund its expansion across California, the company announced Wednesday.
The investment round was spearheaded by industry veteran Greg Dollarhyde, who previously led a $5 million funding push when Starbird debuted in 2016.
Starbird is slated to have nine locations in the Bay Area by the first quarter of next year, the chain said. It recently opened a cloud kitchen in Oakland, Calif. It plans to open six to eight total new restaurants in 2021.
“This landmark financing reflects the industry’s belief in our vision that we’ve had for Starbird since day one—that the fast-food landscape was primed for an upgrade in quality and convenience in user experience through menu items designed with customers’ evolving tastes in mind and a modern technology platform,” Aaron Noveshen, Starbird’s founder and CEO, said in a statement.
Dollarhyde, in a statement, said he sees “a big future” for the concept.
“Its timely, multi-faceted technology platform along with the positioning of this absolutely craveable food concept makes Starbird the concept to watch,” he said. “I’m proud to have been a partner with the company since the first round.”
Investments also came from private-equity fund Cambridge SPG, as well as clients of Arlington Capital Advisors.
Starbird’s San Francisco cloud kitchen is generating sales per square foot of more than $5,000, the company said, and its units are seeing same-store-sales growth of up to 50% in the last six months.
Starbird is adding a number of virtual brands to its ghost kitchen, including concepts focused on wings, salads, bowls and plant-based items.
“They’re growing tremendously,” Noveshen previously told Restaurant Business. “We’ve had several days where the virtual brands are doing better than the core brand.”