Cava raises $318M in its IPO

On the eve of its debut on the New York Stock Exchange, the fast-casual chain's initial stock price hit $22 per share, well above earlier projections. The price gives the company a $2.5 billion valuation.
Cava restaurant exterior
Cava narrowed its loss in the first quarter and is approaching profitability.|Photo: Shutterstock.

The parent of the Cava Mediterranean chain raised close to $318 million with its initial public offering on Wednesday as it prepares for its debut on the New York Stock Exchange.

Cava Group Inc. priced its shares at $22, the company said late Wednesday, which was an increase from earlier estimates that the offering would bring between $17 and $19 per share. Cava, which will be listed under the ticker symbol CAVA, offered 14.4 million shares of common stock.

With a total of more than 111 million shares to be outstanding after the offering, Cava would be valued at more than $2.5 billion.

How Cava’s stock performs on opening day Thursday will be watched closely by investors and other restaurant companies that are considering a move to public markets after a long IPO drought.

Since Cava went public with its plans for IPO plans last month, Panera Brands has made moves to prepare for a potential IPO, rejiggering leadership. The 32-unit Gen Korean BBQ also hopes to raise $25 million with an IPO, and Fat Brands said it plans to spin off its Twin Peaks brand with a public offering.

Cava, meanwhile, has yet to make a profit, though the chain reported its net loss of $2 million in the first quarter had shrunk from $20 million a year prior, and same-store sales grew 28%. Restaurants had an average unit volume of $2.4 million for the year in 2022.

Cava had 263 restaurants across 22 states at the end of the first quarter this year, with another 34 to 44 units planned before the end of 2023.


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