Shake Shack CEO looks for investments with $200 million fund

Business


The founder of New York’s beloved burger joint, Shake Shack, has millions to spend on start-ups looking to grow.

Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group has raised $220 million in a private-equity fund, targeting restaurant, food and technology investments, he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Monday morning.

“We don’t have all the best ideas in the world, especially when it comes to food,” Meyer said.

USHG’s chief investment officer, Mark Leavitt, chimed in to say that the fund will aim to write $10 million to $20 million checks for minority stakes in different companies.

The perfect investment, Meyer explained, would be in “a company we wish we had come up with the idea ourselves.” The brand’s owner would be someone Meyer would hire for his own restaurant, he said.

Any potential investments should have already amassed loyal followings, with a culture that attracts customers, Meyer added. Some examples of where USHG has already made investments include Oregon-based ice cream company Salt and Straw, and family-owned Joe Coffee.

“We are not just check writers,” added Meyer. He said that with any investment he would be “rooting for their success.”

And just because Meyer runs Shake Shack, along with a slew of other restaurants throughout New York, the $220 million won’t all necessarily funnel into the restaurant business, he told CNBC.

“We’re looking for any business that has a fresh way of doing something,” he said. That could include a food delivery service, an ordering app, or a booking platform, according to Meyer and Leavitt.

For USHG, anything built around a “hospitality” model, merits attention.



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