California-based Urban Plates—a chef-driven fast-casual restaurant brand with 17 locations—announced that it has closed a $27 million financing deal from investment funds managed by Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital. Urban Plates will use the proceeds to fund restaurant expansion and to refinance current debt.
Heightened consumer demand for fresh, craveable made-from-scratch meals at fair prices has allowed Urban Plates to achieve one of the highest average unit volumes in the fast-casual dining space. Significant investments in technology over the past three years have allowed Urban Plates to deliver frictionless access for its guests whether they choose to dine-in, takeout, or have food delivered. The investments have enabled digital order growth, which now represents 50 precent of total orders. In the second half of 2023, Urban Plates will open two new locations and anticipates accelerating new openings in 2024 and beyond.
“Our menu and our concept are right for the times,” states Saad Nadhir, Urban Plates’ cofounder and CEO. “Wherever you are on your journey to eat better, we will meet you there. We believe that everyone deserves to eat this good. We are very pleased to work with Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital as we continue to expand the brand footprint and to position ourselves for continued future success.”
The company’s thoughtful sourcing strategies, which include grass-fed steak, cage-free chicken, sustainable seafood, and the use of organic ingredients, are part of a fundamental philosophy to invest in food quality across its entire menu. Every menu item is prepared from scratch daily at each of the company’s 17 locations serving San Diego County, Orange County, the greater Los Angeles area, and Northern California.
“We’re the best of both worlds,” continues Nadhir. “Whether you are looking to relax with friends and enjoy great food and wine in our dining rooms or you need a quick meal to go, we’ve got you covered.”
Urban Plates’ menu of real meals made-from-scratch is great for dine-in, takeout, lunch, dinner, weekdays, and weekends. The brand uniquely fills the need for craveable, wholesome food made from quality ingredients that won’t break the bank. Because all items are made-from-scratch, Urban Plates excels at helping individuals to manage dietary preferences and restrictions. Pricing is very accessible, with 13 items on the current menu offering a pricepoint of $13 or less.
In 2021, Urban Plates also introduced Plate Pass, the restaurant industry’s first membership-based food subscription program. For $5 a month, members of the popular program get a 20 percent discount for themselves and everyone on their entire check (for up to 15 entrees) including desserts, beverages, wine and craft beer, and add-ons, including extra protein or sides.
“Urban Plates is a unique and differentiated fast casual concept, providing consumers with incredible quality for value,” states Nick Nocito, executive director of Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital. “We are thrilled to partner with the team to help them execute the next chapter of growth and expansion.”
North Point Mergers and Acquisitions served as the exclusive financial advisor to Urban Plates in connection with the transaction.