Tender Greens, the farm-to-fork fine-casual restaurant concept with 22 locations across California, today announced a significant minority investment led by Alliance Consumer Growth (ACG), a leading consumer-focused growth equity firm, along with Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), the award-winning company behind some of New York City’s most beloved fine-dining restaurants. As part of USHG’s investment—the first of its kind in the company’s 30-year history—Danny Meyer will join Tender Greens’ Board of Directors. Coming in Tender Greens’ 10th anniversary year, the investment and strategic alliance will be used to grow the Tender Greens brand in California and beyond. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Named one of the “10 Best Chain Restaurants in the World” by Condé Nast Traveler, Tender Greens has quickly emerged as an innovative leader and pioneer among fine-casual restaurants since Erik Oberholtzer, David Dressler, and Matt Lyman opened the first location in 2006 on an up-and-coming street in Culver City. The company built an enthusiastic cult following by serving inspired food, friendly service, and great value in a comfortable space. Popular menu items include Big Plates served with grilled humanely-raised meats, creamy Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and a Simple Salad, Southern Fried Chicken Big Salad with a creamy dill dressing, seared albacore Tuna Niçoise, and chef-driven daily specials using the best of seasonal ingredients.
“We are thrilled and honored that USHG and ACG saw the value and the opportunity to invest in Tender Greens and introduce more people to our inspired food, passion, and friendly service. We waited to find the right partner who shares our same philosophy about building a company that we would want to work for and that everyone would love,” said David Dressler, Tender Greens co-founder. “By welcoming Union Square Hospitality Group and Alliance Consumer Growth to our table, we begin our next chapter with a strategic partner who has a collection of the finest restaurants in New York with 26 James Beard Awards to their credit, the creator of the better burger phenom Shake Shack, and their founder (and our hero) Danny Meyer on our board of directors. Not to mention access to growth and development resources we have always wanted, and a network of other special brands to collaborate with and learn from.”
“Every now and then, I’ll visit a restaurant and love the idea—the food, the people, the culture—so much that I wish I’d thought of it myself. That’s exactly what happened with Tender Greens,” said Danny Meyer, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, USHG. “Up until now, we’ve built our company by planting seeds from scratch, and then growing them ourselves. Lately I’ve been asking, ‘Whoever wrote the rule…,’ and in this case, the question was, ‘Whoever wrote the rule that we can’t also grow our company by investing in a great idea even when the seed has taken root in someone else’s garden?’ Above all, I’m so excited for USHG to champion a like-minded company whose entire team shares our passion for culinary excellence and Enlightened Hospitality.”
Stifel acted as exclusive financial advisor to Tender Greens in the transaction.