California salad makers Tender Greens just got a big new infusion of cash, from none other than Union Square Hospitality Group. The Danny Meyer-backed group is used to creating its own brands from the ground up, but has instead decided to jump on board the healthy casual train that is Tender Greens, buying in for a minority stake.
As the New York Times tells it, Tender Greens is "part Panera, part Bare Burger, part Union Square Cafe," which made it an attractive opportunity for Meyer, who seems to be betting big on the leafy franchise. Remember, Meyer himself (not Union Square Hospitality) already has a small stake in competing greenery brand sweetgreen.
The Times also notes that the founders of Tender Greens have been quietly approaching private equity firms for a while now, hoping the investment could take them beyond California’s borders with a national expansion. Though they declined to offer up a specific number that Union Square put into the brand, the team was quick to note that the money should help put a Tender Greens into cities like Austin, Chicago and, yes, New York, soon enough. At the moment the brand has 22 locations.