CAVA stock doubles after IPO

D.C.-based fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant chain CAVA saw its stock almost double in its first day as a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.

CAVA raised $318 million in its initial public offering Wednesday, the biggest stock listing on a U.S. exchange in six weeks, according to Bloomberg data, and the sixth largest this year.

It sold 14.4 million shares at $22 per share, higher than its initial range of $19 to $20 per share. It gives the company a market value of nearly $2.5 billion.

Its stock, ticker symbol CAVA, traded as high as $45 a share after trading began just before noon Thursday.

CAVA had $564 million in revenue in 2022, with a $59 million annual loss. It had restaurant sales growth in fiscal year 2022 of 14.2%.

CAVA said it will use proceeds from the stock offering to fund future restaurant openings, and finance construction of its new production facility in Verona, Virginia, outside of Staunton, which it invested $30 million in two years ago.

The filing also shows CAVA’s largest investors include T. Rowe Price, Swan Hospitality and Revolution Growth.

CAVA was founded in 2006 by three Maryland friends: Dimitri Moshovitis, Tex Xenohristos and Ike Grigoropoulos. It opened its first restaurant in 2006 in Rockville, and has grown from 22 locations at the end of fiscal 2016 to 263 locations in 22 states thus far, including two dozen in the D.C. region.

The company currently has 7,400 employees.

It also owns Zoes Kitchen, which it acquired in 2018 for $300 million, and is in the process of converting some of those restaurants to CAVA. To date, it has converted 145 Zoes locations. Since the Zoes acquisition, the company has also opened 51 new CAVA locations.

CAVA also sells hummus spreads, tzatziki sauces and other products in thousands of grocery stores.

The company is in the process of relocating its D.C. headquarters from Chinatown to City Ridge, the mixed-used, Wegmans-anchored redevelopment of the former Fannie Mae headquarters at 3900 Wisconsin Ave. Northwest.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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