Portillo's Intends to File IPO this Year

    The chain is seeking a valuation of between $2.5 billion and $3 billion. 

    Finance | July 16, 2021 | Ben Coley
    Iconic Chicago Italian beef chain leader inspired by decency of team.
    Portillo's
    When Portillo’s files, it will become the fourth chain in the past three months to officially announce IPO intentions.

    Add Portillo’s to the growing list of chains planning to go public and enter the stock market.

    The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the Chicago-based fast-casual would confidentially submit a draft registration statement with the SEC. Portillo's officially announced that it had done so on Monday morning. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined. The initial public offering is expected to take place after the SEC completes its review process.

    Portillo’s, which operates more than 60 locations across nine states, seeks to be valued between $2.5 billion and $3 billion. The brand is expected to start trading on the stock market before the year is over, the Journal said. Portillo’s is run by private-equity firm Berkshire Partners.

    The chain used the pandemic to spearhead innovation and take advantage of growing trends. Last summer, the fast casual launched self-delivery to get outside the four walls and bring its “world-class experience” directly to guests, Dino Northway, Portillo’s senior manager of off-premises dining, told QSR in July 2020.

    “We have a goal to create an unrivaled experience for our amazing guests and controlling the full experience from ordering through self-delivery is a way we can do that,” Northway said at the time.

    READ MORE: Is In-House Delivery the Future for Restaurants?

    In addition, Portillo’s announced earlier in July that it would open Portillo’s Pick-Up, a 3,750-square-foot prototype featuring three drive-thrus and no dining room. There will also be a takeout area for website and app orders.

    The chain was founded in 1963 by Dick Portillo. He sold the brand to Berkshire Partners in 2014 for roughly $1 billion. 

    When Portillo’s officially files, it will become the fourth chain in the past three months to announce IPO intentions. The first was Krispy Kreme in early May, a brand that was public from 2000 to 2016 before JAB Holding bought it for $1.35 billion. The doughnut chain initially projected a share price range of $21 to $24 per share, however it eventually announced an IPO of $17 per share, raising $500 million. Krispy Kreme’s stock opened at $16.30 per share on July 1, but it closed at $21 per share to close the day. The brand was trading at just over $17 per share as of Friday afternoon.

    Following Krispy Kreme’s announcement were Dutch Bros Coffee and Sweetgreen. Prior to Dutch Bros confidentially submitting a draft registration statement, Bloomberg reported it was seeking to be valued around $3 billion. The coffee chain has more than 450 stores, but has a goal to reach 800 units within the next few years.

    The 120-unit Sweetgreen is reportedly working with Goldman Sachs. The fast casual was valued at $1.78 billion in January after raising $156 million from Durable Capital Partners. In September 2019, the chain disclosed that it picked up $150 million from Lone Pine Capital and D1 Capital Partners with participation from True Ventures and other existing investors. Prior to that, the brand raised $200 million in November 2018 in a funding round led by asset management company Fidelity Investments.

    There are other restaurants that have reportedly explored an IPO, but haven’t announced plans yet. The New York Times said in late April that JAB completed an $800 million refinancing for Panera that could "pave the way" for the company to return to the stock market. The publication said Panera may not require a traditional IPO, opening the door for a special acquisition company. JAB bought Panera for $7.5 billion in 2017. Additionally, in March news broke that Torchy's Tacos is headed toward an IPO, although nothing is final. The taco chain is reportedly working with Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Corp, and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

    Prior to Krispy Kreme, the most recent chain to reach the stock market was BurgerFi, which did so through a special acquisition company. BurgerFi and OPES Acquisition Corp. agreed to merge in June 2020, with an anticipated initial enterprise value of approximately $143 million. The chain rung the Nasdaq bell in December 2020. Then in February, Fertitta Entertainment, which includes Golden Nugget Casinos and Landry’s, agreed to join Fast Acquisition Corp. in a deal that will value the company at $8.6 billion.