General Atlantic invests in Torchy’s Tacos "fast casual" chain

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Private equity firm General Atlantic has acquired a minority stake in Torchy’s Tacos, a “fast-casual” restaurant that serves tacos. The PE firm is now a shareholder among the target’s five founding partners. Financial terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Torchy's Tacos was born out of an Austin, Texas-based food truck in 2006. Today, the target serves untraditional tacos to customers in 46 locations across Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma. The menu at Torchy’s Tacos consists of breakfast tacos, lunch tacos with barbacoa and fresh avocado, sides including guacamole and salsa, green chile queso dips, street corn, and dark chocolate brownies called “love puppies.”

General Atlantic is a middle-market private equity firm based out of New York City. The deal for Torchy's Tacos marks as General Atlantic’s third restaurant-related investment in the past 18 months after backing Barteca Holdings-owned Barcelona Wine Bar and the Bartaco dining chains. General Atlantic also backed Joe & The Juice, a chain of urban juice and coffee bars, in October 2016.

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: Golden Gate Capital’s deal to buy Bob Evans Restaurants for $565 million; Roark Capital’s agreement to make a majority investment in Jimmy John’s Sandwiches; and Z Capital Partners LLC’s acquisition of Pink Taco restaurant brand for an undisclosed amount.

Financo served as financial adviser to General Atlantic, while North Point Advisers acted as financial adviser to Torchy’s Tacos. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017.

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