Danny Meyer Is Looking To Invest $220 Million In Culture-Rich, Innovative Companies

Is your business built upon a genius idea? Does your brand have a great culture and consumer following with a proven record that can sustain expansion? Are you open to receive a monetary investment and advice from a top restaurateur to grow your business?

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Those are the parameters Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer and his team will be evaluating in his next venture.

Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) has raised $220 million for a private equity fund that will invest in 10 to 15 fast casual restaurant concepts, hospitality-facing technology companies and other businesses that share the hospitality group CEO’s employee-centric values.

“Employees first, customers second, community third, suppliers fourth, then investors fifth,” said Meyer today in a “CNBC” Squawk Box interview, as he defined the concept of— enlightened hospitality.

How much investment money per portfolio company, you wonder?

“We think we are typically going to be writing $10 to $20 million checks for typically minority stakes,” said Mark Leavitt, USHG’s Chief Investment Officer, in “CNBC” interview.

In an interview with “Wall Street Journal” earlier this month, Meyer revealed he saw the fund, called Enlightened Hospitality Investments LP, as “an opportunity to step out of the restaurant” world.

Are we losing Meyer, the restaurateur who spearheaded the no-tipping movement, to the world of finance? Too early to tell!

But, thus far the fund has invested in Salt & Straw Ice Cream, a small ice cream chain with their flagship shop in Portland, Ore., New York gourmet coffee chain Joe Coffee, and Resy, the restaurant reservation booking app that partnered up with Airbnb, last year.

USHG is moving forward with their quest to find investment opportunities amidst the recent controversy its CEO, Danny Meyer, is facing in a lawsuit accusing him and others, like Momofuku’s David Chang, of a conspiracy around the disputable no-tipping policy.

In the meantime, we are paying close attention to see what new, up-and-coming concepts USHG finds and invests in. 

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