Salad chain Sweetgreen shares surge 85% in stock market debut

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  • Salad chain Sweetgreen made its debut on the public market Thursday afternoon.
  • Shares rose 91%, giving the company a market value of more than $5.5 billion.
  • The company priced its initial public offering at $28 per share, which exceeded its marketing limit.

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Shares of salad chain Sweetgreen were up 91% at the start of the public market Thursday afternoon.

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The stock opened at $52 a share, giving the company a market value of more than $5.5 billion. The company priced its initial public offering on Wednesday evening at $28 per share, well above the market range of $23 to $25 per share. Sweetgreen sold 13 million shares, raising $364 million for the company.

The stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “SG”.

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Founded in 2006, SweetGreen has found a loyal customer base with its menu of customizable salads and hot bowls that appeal to consumers looking for healthy, convenient options. The chain has also leaned into technology, prompting its customers to order their salads online to cut down on lines inside restaurants. More than two-thirds of its revenue comes from digital sales.

“We want to say that we want to build our generation McDonald’s,” said Jonathan Neiman, co-founder and CEO, on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

In the fiscal year ended December 27, Sweetgreen reported a net loss of $141.2 million on revenue of $220.6 million, according to its prospectus. The chain’s same-store sales declined 26% during that time after climbing 15% in the prior fiscal year.

This year, the series has made a comeback from the lows of the pandemic. Same-store sales are up 21% as of September 26. Its loss narrowed from a loss of $100.2 million in the year-ago period to $86.9 million.

In August, SweetGreen acquired Spice, a Boston restaurant company that made a name for itself with robotic restaurant technology.

SweetGreen operates 140 restaurants in 13 states and Washington, with plans to double its restaurant footprint within the next five years.

A range of other restaurant chains have debuted on the public market this year with mixed results. Stock of First Watch Restaurant Group has fallen 9% since its October IPO, while shares of coffee chain Dutch Bros have climbed 55% since its offering.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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