General Atlantic has taken a minority stake in Joe & the Juice, a chain of urban juice and coffee bars, for undisclosed terms. The deal underscores private equity firms’ growing interest in “fast casual” and “polished casual” restaurant concepts.
Founded in Copenhagen in 2002, Joe & the Juice makes juices, shakes, coffees and sandwiches using natural and organic ingredients. The target operates 160 stores throughout Europe, Asia and the U.S. The juice bar chain plans to leverage the “increasing customer need for convenience and healthy living” and looks to further expand into the U.S. and United Kingdom.
General Atlantic, a New York City-based private equity firm, joins existing investor Valedo Partners as a minority shareholder. The deal marks as General Atlantic’s second restaurant-related investment in the past year after backing Barteca Holdings-owned Barcelona Wine Bar and the Bartaco dining chains, but it will be the firm’s first retail and consumer investment in Denmark. General Atlantic’s Andrew Crawford and Melis Kahya will join Joe & the Juice’s board as part of the deal.
Private equity firms have shown an increasing interest in restaurant chains with national and international growth potential as customer activity has shifted to trendy fast casual competitors. Recent acquisitions include: Roark Capital’s agreement to make a majority investment in Jimmy John’s Sandwiches; Z Capital Partners LLC’s acquisition of Pink Taco restaurant brand for an undisclosed amount; and CenterOak Partners LLC’s majority investment in Wetzel’s Pretzels LLC from the firm’s first equity fund.