The Sweetgreen salad chain files a public dossier and hopes to double its footprint within 5 years

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A Sweetgreen location in Bethesda, Maryland.

Jeffrey MacMillan | Getty Images

Salad chain Sweetgreen filed for an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SG on Monday, with the aim of becoming the latest restaurant company to enter public markets this year.

The company’s losses widened and sales declined as the pandemic hit its business last year. In the year ended Dec. 27, Sweetgreen reported a net loss of $ 141.2 million on revenue of $ 220.6 million, according to its prospectus. The chain’s comparable store sales declined 26% in this period after climbing 15% in the prior year.

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The channel has rebounded this year. Comparable store sales increased 21% as of September 26. Its losses narrowed to $ 86.9 million from a loss of $ 100.2 million a year ago.

Sweetgreen operates 140 restaurants in 13 states and Washington. In the prospectus, Sweetgreen said he plans to double his footprint over the next 3-5 years. More than two-thirds of its revenue comes from digital sales. The average unit volume for a location is $ 2.5 million as of September 26.

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Founded in 2006, Sweetgreen has found a loyal following with its menu of customizable salads and hot bowls that appeal to consumers looking for healthy and convenient options. The company also looked at catering technology. In August, it acquired Spyce, a Boston catering company that has made a name for itself with robotic catering technology. A few months earlier, Sweetgreen had announced that it had filed a confidential file to become public.

The channel has not escaped controversy. In September, CEO and co-founder Jonathan Neman wrote a post on LinkedIn that linked deaths from Covid-19 to obesity, eliciting backlash on social media. The post was deleted and Neman apologized for the comments.

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A series of other restaurant chains made their public market debut this year with mixed results. Shares of coffee chain Dutch Bros have climbed 82% since its IPO in September. First Watch Restaurant Group shares have fallen 2% since its inception earlier this month.

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