Fourteen years after he was born in a South Austin grocery trailer, Torchy’s Tacos has received a hell of a good investment: $ 400 million.
Money from a group of investors led by private equity firm General Atlantic will pave the way for Torchy’s, which has an iconic following, to expand to an additional 10 states over the next four years. Austin-based Torchy’s, which is bidding to supply Damn Good Tacos, currently operates 83 locations in seven states. Former Chef Michael Rypka launched Torchy’s in 2006 in the Food Trailer on South First Street.
In addition to General Atlantic, the majority owner of Torchy’s, the investors in this new financing round of USD 400 million are the investment firm D1 Capital Partners, the investment manager T. Rowe Price and the hedge funds Lone Pine Capital and XN. Rypka and everyone else in the original group of owners have also poured money into this funding round, which would be enough to buy around 75 million orders of Torchy’s Chips and Queso.
General Atlantic from New York City initially invested in Torchy in 2017. A year later, Torchy appointed GJ Hart as CEO. Hart was previously CEO of California Pizza Kitchen and Texas Roadhouse restaurant chains. He joined the board of directors of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers in 2019.
In a November 20 press release, Hart said that General Atlantic is affiliated with four new investors: “We feel we have assembled a leading group of owners that will enable us to accelerate our growth and move on to the next chapter in history to write about Torchy. “
Despite the economically devastating COVID-19 pandemic, Torchy’s opened 12 new locations in 2020 and expanded the brand to three more states.
“We admire the extensive operational experience and the commitment of the management team to deliver an original and differentiated experience. We believe that as Torchy expands in the US, their vision will continue to resonate with a wide range of guests, regions and footprints, ”said Andrew Crawford, General Atlantic Global Consumer Director and new Torchy Chairman.
En route to a nationwide presence, Torchy reportedly plans an initial public offering (IPO) of its shares in 2021 that would transform them from a privately held company to a publicly traded company. Torchy and General Atlantic executives do not comment on the IPO speculation.
Crawford told Bloomberg News Service that he envisions Torchy evolving from a regional chain to a “national concept” to a national brand that could eventually operate thousands of locations. The company officially operates as the Success Foods Management Group.