Black Bear Diner, a 75-unit family dining franchise concept in eight western states, announced an investment from PWP Growth Equity, a private equity fund managed by Perella Weinberg Partners that invests in leading, growth-oriented lower middle market companies. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The partnership with PWP Growth Equity positions Black Bear Diner for sustained growth and continued expansion. The investment will allow Black Bear Diner to continue to invest in people, systems, and processes, while adding locations in new and existing markets. Bruce Dean, president and co-founder of Black Bear Diner, and the entire executive team will remain in their current roles and will continue to lead the company through its next phase of growth.
Black Bear Diner is a premier concept in the family dining space, offering bear-sized food portions at an excellent value in a bear-themed restaurant. The company posted a record $180 million in system net sales to close out 2015, and has experienced 20 consecutive quarters of same-store-sales growth. In 2016, the company is projected to open 16 new units in current markets featuring a mix of existing franchisees and corporate stores.
“This is an exciting opportunity for us to build a robust national footprint and share our brand with so many more customers,” Dean says. “Our plan is to nurture this investment by focusing on smart, steady growth. That philosophy remains unchanged even as we eye national expansion. PWP Growth Equity understands and shares that vision and we’re thrilled to partner with them.”
Chip Baird, co-head of PWP Growth Equity, adds, “We are pleased to be partnering with Bruce and the entire Black Bear Diner team to help the company achieve its growth potential. Black Bear offers a differentiated family dining experience centered on high-quality ingredients, made-from-scratch menu items and an unmatched dining experience. We look forward to bringing this unique concept to a broader market through our investment.”
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