Torchy's gets equity infusion

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Torchy’s Tacos is selling a minority interest in the rapidly expanding fast-casual taco chain to General Atlantic, an investment firm that has previously invested in such concepts as Barcelona Wine Bar and Bartaco.

Simultaneously, Torchy’s said Todd Diener, the former president of Chili’s, will join the taco chain’s board, along with two representatives of General Atlantic.

The amount of General Atlantic’s equity stake was not revealed. Torchy’s described it as a “significant minority investment,” and noted the concept’s five founding partners will remain the other shareholders.  All five now hold executive positions within the chain.

Torchy’s was started 11 years ago as a taco truck in Austin, Texas, by chef Michael Rypka. It has since become a cult favorite, with 46 units in three states.

It is often cited as a leader in an emerging segment of quirky, higher-quality taco concepts, along with such brands as Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, now principally owned by NRD Capital, and Velvet Taco, a holding of Front Burner Restaurants.

General Atlantic specializes in companies with high growth potential. Its earlier investments include stakes in such consumer brands as Airbnb, Uber, BuzzFeed and Vox Media.

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