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AF-based Four Foods Group Raises $35M In Funding

We do something unique in the restaurant business by bringing a platform of tools and years of business operations and financial experience that enable our restauranteur partners to grow rapidly, while mitigating the usual pitfalls associated with meaningful expansion.

$35,000,000 is a lot of funding. In the food industry, $35,000,000 is an unheard of amount of funding. Until now.

American Fork-based Four Foods Group, a restaurant concept incubator and accelerator company has raised $18 million from Opus Bank, $12 million from Red Bridge Capital, and more than $7 million from other private capital providers.

“Four Foods Group is unlike anything anyone else has seen,” says CEO Andrew Smith. He’s right. The Four Foods Group model is revolutionary in that it makes franchise owners partners in a business. Each partner receives equity, instead of the traditional profit sharing or bonus programs most other restaurants offer. “I wanted the people in my restaurants to feel the way I do,” says Smith. He explains the feeling of waking up in the morning realizing the success of a business rides on the actions of its owner. The quality of a restaurant is better when those running it have some skin in the game.

And that’s why your turkey artichoke panini is delicious no matter the Kneaders in which you order it. How tragic is it when your favorite restaurant becomes a chain and you visit the second or third or 59th location and the food is not very good and the tables are dirty? There are few things more tragic. Kneaders has avoided this saddest of restaurant fates thanks to Smith and the Four Foods Group.

Gary and Colleen Worthington opened the first Kneaders in 1997. The restaurant quickly grew a cult-like following, because it’s freaking delicious. The Worthingtons had built four locations and were working on their fifth when Smith approached them and negotiated exclusivity. Smith quickly turned a small chain of mom and pop shops into a regional powerhouse. Of the 52 Kneaders locations, Smith owns 43 with partners. These partners are people Smith considers like-minded and those interested in being owners, not amateurs. “Our model of having owners in the store provides better stores,” Smith says.

The next step for Four Foods Group is expanding their model to more brands. In fact, the contract will their first new brand is expected to close soon. “I know the model is going to work,” Smith says. And I agree. Because not only does Four Food Groups help partners own their business, it also helps them buy land, build stores, and set up operations. “We do something unique in the restaurant business by bringing a platform of tools and years of business operations and financial experience that enable our restauranteur partners to grow rapidly, while mitigating the usual pitfalls associated with meaningful expansion,” says Smith.

The $35 million will fuel FFG’s ability to help quality brands grow and thrive in Utah and beyond.