Black Bear Diner Secured an Investment From PWP Growth Equity, Aims to Expand Business

By Staff Writer

Feb 24, 2016 05:04 AM EST

American family restaurant chain Black Bear Diner announced an investment from PWP Growth Equity, a private equity fund that focuses its investments in growth-focused lower middle market companies. The financial terms and detail of the investment were not disclosed, but it's stated that the partnership will support Black Bear Diner sustaining growth and continuing expansion.

According to BusinessWire, the investment will allow Black Bear Diner to expand and improve its business by investing in people, systems, and processes. The investment will also support the restaurant adding locations in new and existing markets, as a part of its national expansion strategy.

Black Bear Diner president and co-founder Bruce Dean stated the restaurant's plan in boosting growth, especially after securing the new investment. "This is an exciting opportunity for us to build a robust national footprint and share our brand with so many more customers. Our plan is to nurture this investment by focusing on smart, steady growth. That philosophy remains unchanged even as we eye national expansion," he said. Dean also revealed that the company's plan is to grow to about 155 restaurants from the current 75 business units in the next five years.

Dean also believes that the new investor understands and even shares the restaurant's vision. On the other hand, Chip Baird, co-head of PWP Growth Equity also expressed the firm's pleasure to be partnering with the Black Bear Diner, especially because the restaurant offers a unique and differentiated family dining experience with high-quality ingredients. "We look forward to bringing this unique concept to a broader market through our investment," Baird stated, as quoted by the Nation's Restaurant News.

According to Redding, Black Bear Diner posted a record of $180 million in system net sales in 2015. The restaurant also experienced 20 straight quarters of same-store sales growth for locations that have been opened for at least one year. The restaurant was also ranked 197 on a list of 200 top restaurants in a 2015 industry ranking. In 2016, the company will open 16 restaurants in existing markets.

PWP Growth Equity itself is a private equity fund managing assets of more than $600 million. The equity fund is managed by Perella Weinberg Partners Capital Management. PWP Growth Equity also has experience investing in restaurants, including Jimmy John's Sandwiches and Applebee's. 

Black Bear Diner will allocate the investment it just received from PWP Growth Equity to expand growth and coverage in new and existing markets. The restaurant has experienced steady growth last year and is expected to improve sales in the coming years with a unique concept and financial backing. 

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