CAVA—which is preparing to go public—revealed Monday that it’s valuing itself as high as $2.1 billion. 

The fast casual will offer 14,444,44 shares at a stock price between $17 and $19. At that range, CAVA would raise between $245.6 million and $274.4 million in its IPO. There are also 111,385,928 outstanding shares, meaning the brand values itself between $1.89 billion and $2.1 billion. 

The company said it will use net proceeds from the IPO to fund future restaurant openings. If there are funds leftover after that, the rest will be used for general corporate purposes, like paying off a loan it used to finance a production facility in Verona, Virginia. 

CAVA officially filed to trade on the stock market in late May after confidentially filing plans in February. The brand is doing so with plenty of sales momentum at its back. The company earned $564.1 million in revenue in 2022, an increase from $500 million during the previous year. Same-store sales rose 14.2 percent last year and 23.6 percent against 2019. Even more recently, comps soared 28.4 percent in the first quarter, which was CAVA’s ninth straight period of positive growth. AUV reached $2.4 million in 2022 and restaurant-level profit margin was at 20.3 percent. However, the company did feel a net loss of $59 million in 2022, up from $37.4 million in 2021. 

The fast casual had 263 stores in the U.S. as of April 16—a major increase from its 22-store footprint in 2016. The biggest reason behind that trajectory has been Zoes Kitchen, which CAVA purchased for $300 million in 2018. CAVA has spent the past five years converting Zoes Kitchen stores to scale faster. In fact, since that acquisition, the company has converted 145 Zoes Kitchen locations and opened 51 new CAVA units. In 2022 alone, the brand debuted a net of 73 restaurants, including 63 Zoes Kitchen conversions. The final Zoes Kitchen units will be converted before 2023 is over. 

CAVA believes it has enough whitespace to reach 1,000 locations by 2032, making it the undisputed leader in the Mediterranean category. The fast casual will fulfill this growth target with a variety of formats, including digital kitchens, hybrid kitchens, and drive-thru pickup lanes. 

In 2021, the IPO market was hot with five major companies going public Krispy KremeDutch Bros CoffeePortillo’sFirst Watch, and Sweetgreen. Fogo de Chão and MOD Pizza filed for IPOs, but haven’t moved forward yet. 

Panera Brands confirmed in May that it is still going public after plans fell through last year with Danny Meyer’s special purpose acquisition company. Ahead of the move, Panera CEO Niren Chaudhary will step down and be replaced by José Alberto Dueñas, the leader of Einstein Bros. Bagels. 

Fast Casual, Growth, Story, Cava