More fast casual concepts are popping up that are focused on marrying taste and health, and a long-time financial advisory firm wants to help those concepts expand.Capital Growth Advisors, an investment banking firm known to the industry as CapGrow, gives strategic advice on financing, mergers and acquisitions and more to multi-unit restaurant owners. It’s principals, Phil McDonough and Reid Sherard spent significant time in restaurant finance before launching CapGrow years ago. McDonough’s wife, Kris, recently joined the team to grow their new vertical: advisory to natural/organic restaurants.
No stranger to the world of finance herself, Kris has more than 25 years of experience in alternative investments, financial markets, capital raising, business development and strategy. A few years ago, as she says, “with some of my own health challenges, I saw the impact of food on health.”
With more information than ever available to the public, there “is a secular change” in the public’s attitude about eating. She herself converted her family’s diet based on her own research. “It’s not easy,” she said. “How do you switch to healthier food and make it taste good?”
And it was even harder when the family traveled, trying to find the restaurant that could meet their dietary expectations. “I was seeing a void,” she said. And when you see a void, Kris added, it’s then that investors deploy capital.
She says entrepreneurs who lead this effort go through a very long growth curve, “and you aren’t seeing them backed by the regular investors. Reid and Phil have a large rolodex of operators and contacts where we can marry capital where there is that void.” Two outside advisors will bring their expertise to the table to help the concepts with growth, as well.
William Van Epps will advise on operations and franchise strategies. He’s held senior positions in both domestic and international operations over a 40-year career for companies such as Papa John’s, Yorkshire Global Restaurants and more.
Mac McCabe has expertise in organic restaurants, and will advise on supply chain and other issues unique to organic/healthy brands. McCabe co-founded the first natural/organic fast casual chain, O’Naturals, Inc., and served as its CEO for over 10 years, in addition to senior positions with other health food organizations.
“There are a host of challenges in running a concept that is so different from conventional brands,” said Kris.They are looking at concepts that might have three to four units, and “have exhausted their friends and family (capital) raise,” said Phil. “They have to start thinking about lending, real estate development and how does that look three to five years from now.” And as Reid pointed out, the CapGrow team can bring all of that experience to bear.
While this is a new for the group, CapGrow is still doing business as usual with their restaurant clients: financial advisory and mergers and acquisition consulting.
(This article is Republished with Publishers Permission from the Restaurant Finance Monitor, October 16, 2014)