Today, James Beard Award-winning chef, TV personality and author, JJ Johnson received Series A funding for his NYC-based rice bowl concept from Founder’s Table Restaurant Group and Pendulum. The partnership will finance the rapid expansion of FIELDTRIP’s footprint throughout Upper Manhattan and to a new market.

Founders Table Restaurant Group, parent company of innovative, founder-led brands CHOPT Creative Salad Company and Dos Toros Taqueria, has partnered with Pendulum, a strategic growth investing and advisory platform focused on diverse entrepreneurs, on the FIELDTRIP investment. Founders Table and Pendulum, co-founded by D’Rita and Robbie Robinson, have a shared vision to bring better-for-you food to communities of color where too often fast-casual options are unhealthy.

FIELDTRIP utilizes sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients in tandem with chef JJ’s signature Caribbean cooking style to create a flavorful and diverse dining experience. The brand’s motto, “Rice is Culture,” was born out of Chef JJ’s belief that rice is the universal ingredient that connects us all and can be found at the center of the table in every community. FIELDTRIP’s first outpost opened in Harlem in 2019 and has since grown to two additional locations in Rockefeller Center and Long Island City.

“To have the support from Founders Table and Pendulum will allow me to rapidly expand FIELDTRIP throughout Upper Manhattan and the Bronx, showcasing the future of food to the heart of New York,” says Chef JJ.

The FIELDTRIP investment marks the second alignment between Pendulum and Founders Table, as Pendulum recently made a significant investment in Founders Table’s latest capital raise, joining L-Catteron, Founders Table’s largest shareholder. This strategic partnership will focus on activating a diverse owned franchise platform on the west coast and making additional investments in restaurant brands led by diverse founders.

“JJ is an extraordinary chef, founder and community leader whose values directly align with the principles upon which Founders Table is built,” says Founders Table CEO Nick Marsh.  “In line with the mission of our partnership with Pendulum, this investment will not only accelerate FIELDTRIP’s growth but will create significant opportunity for diverse founders to achieve franchise ownership in other parts of the country.” 

Casual Dining, Industry News