| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES Jan 28 Veggie Grill raised $20
million from current stakeholders and new investors to bolster
its expansion and capitalize on the growing popularity of
healthy dining options, the Santa Monica, California-based
restaurant company said on Monday.
It is the fourth round of equity funding for the vegetarian
restaurant chain, whose menu includes dishes such as the "All
Hail Kale" salad. The privately-held company declined to
disclose its valuation.
The investment lands amid growing interest in restaurants
that put greater emphasis on healthy food made with ingredients
such as organic produce, antibiotic-free meats and vegetable
protein. Chains in that group range from national players such
as Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc and Panera Bread Co
to upstarts Lyfe Kitchen and True Food Kitchen.
Veggie Grill plans to open new restaurants in Los Angeles,
Orange County, San Diego and Seattle during the first half of
The company doubled its restaurant count to 16 last year and
is on track to double that number again within the next 18
months, executives said.
A substantial portion of the capital from the latest round
came from Brentwood Associates, a California-based private
Brentwood has a "substantial" minority position in Veggie
Grill and is its largest single shareholder. Bill Barnum, a
Brentwood partner, and Rahul Aggarwal, its managing director,
will join Veggie Grill's board of directors.