First Watch Breakfast Chain Jumps in First Day of Trading
(Bloomberg) -- Breakfast chain First Watch Restaurant Group Inc. jumped as much as 28% in its first day of trading as investor interest grows in consumer companies.
The stock rose as high as $22.98 Friday in its debut on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. First Watch shares priced at $18 in the initial public offering, within the expected range of $17 to $20.
“Entering the public markets was the best option to continue to fuel our growth,” Chief Executive Officer Chris Tomasso said in an interview. The Bradenton, Florida-based company, which has about 420 locations, is expanding in areas such as Chicago and Dallas, and it has the potential to grow to about 2,200 stores across the U.S., he said.
The chain, which specializes in breakfast and brunch fare, has been luring diners with trendy items like quinoa bowls and avocado toast. First Watch is majority-owned by private equity firm Advent International.
First Watch is facing a labor-market crunch, like others across the industry, and it’s offering $2,000 referral bonuses for managers to help with recruitment. The chain is also facing occasional supply-chain outages for items such as to-go bags. Tomasso predicted 2% to 3% commodity inflation for 2022, and he said the restaurants will likely pass on their typical 2.5% to 3% annual menu price hikes.
“There are supply-chain challenges we’re dealing with -- not being able to get items and having to sub them out,” he said.
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