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Bain fund invests in Bamboo Sushi parent

Investment will help Sustainable Restaurant Group grow

Bain Capital Double Impact, a mission-oriented private-equity fund, has led a new strategic investment in Portland, Ore.-based Sustainable Restaurant Group to grow its Bamboo Sushi and QuickFish brands, the companies said Tuesday.

The Boston-based Bain affiliate joined the New York City-based early-stage Kitchen Fund in the investment in Sustainable Restaurant Group, which has four full-service Bamboo Sushi units in Portland and one in Denver, as well as one limited-service QuickFish location in Portland. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Bain

Warren Valdmanis, a managing director at Bain Capital Double Impact

“We are firm believers in the idea that Americans are going to eat healthier, more sustainable food in the future than they do today,” Warren Valdmanis, a managing director at Bain Capital Double Impact, told Nation’s Restaurant News. “Bamboo Sushi and the Sustainable Restaurant Group are purpose-built to help evangelize and expand that trend.”

Valdmanis called Bamboo Sushi “the affordable Nobu,” and it sources its supply from sustainable catches or farms.

SRG founder and CEO Kristofor Lofgren is inspirational in promoting sustainable sourcing, Valdmanis said.

“Kristofor and his high-quality management team have done an exceptional job of tapping into a growing segment of customers who recognize that eating sustainability sourced seafood is not only better for you, but also better for the planet,” he said.

Ron Ruggless

SRG founder and CEO Kristofor Lofgren

Sustainable Restaurant Group has built a supply chain that validates fishing practices and excludes severely overfished oceans, fish fraud and health risks associated with farm-raised fish. The company also has committed to expanding awareness of sustainability and health and wellness benefits of fish consumption through in-restaurant green initiatives and consumer programs.

Lofgren said the strategic investment will allow the company to expand into new markets, with the plans for Seattle and San Francisco. 

“With the benefit of Bain Capital Double Impact and Kitchen Fund’s impressive restaurant experience, we are well-positioned to achieve our goal of providing mindful customers with a premium sushi dining experience at a great value while doubling down on our advocacy programs dedicated to sustainable fishing practices and supply chain transparency,” Lofgren said in a statement.

Bain has a long history of restaurant investments, Valdmanis said, including such brands as Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Bamboo Sushi

Last week, the Bain Capital Double Impact fund joined Kitchen Fund and other investors in providing growth capital for New York City-based By Chloe, a 10-unit vegan fast-casual concept, which was launched as a division of ESquared Hospitality.

Sustainable Restaurant Group was founded in 2008, when it opened Bamboo Sushi in Portland. QuickFish, opened in 2016, is certified by the James Beard Foundation’s Smart Catch program, the Marine Stewardship Council and the Green Restaurant Association. 

In 2017, Sustainable Restaurant Group launched its Carbon Calculator tool, which was created to determine the company’s carbon footprint down to the individual menu item and the offsets required to neutralize the effect on the environment. To offset carbon emissions, Sustainable Restaurant Group partners with The Ocean Foundation and its Seagrass Grow project to donate funds each year. 

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless 

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