Dive Brief:

  • Chopt Creative Salad bought Dos Toros Taqueria on Thursday, according to a company release emailed to Restaurant Dive. The acquisition was financed by private equity firm L Catterton.
  • The purchase price and terms of the agreement were not disclosed. ​Chopt and Dos Toros will form a new holding company called Founders Table Restaurant Group, which will be supported by L Catterton, a Chopt investor. Chopt CEO Nick Marsh will lead the parent company.
  • Founders Table will roll out a new multi-concept ordering program and loyalty program later this year that will allow diners to browse and order from Chopt and Dos Toros and earn and redeem loyalty currency across both brands.

Dive Insight:

Combining a specialty salad chain and a taco joint under one roof may seem unusual at first glance, but Chopt and Dos Toros’ shared focus on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients provides some commonalities.

The most interesting piece of this partnership, however, will be what each brand can learn from the other.

Chopt, for example, opened a pickup- and delivery-only restaurant in New York City last fall to meet an uptick in digital orders, which make up 40% of all company orders. Marsh told Forbes in November that the format provides diners with improved service and efficiency than its typical restaurants.

Dos Toros has also honed in on off-premise opportunity, leaning on catering to grow revenue. In 2019, the chain raked in $5 million in catering sales, or 10% of its overall sales, compared to the $120,000 it made in catering sales in 2012, according to Restaurant Business.

The taco chain has found success by creating a catering model that mirrors its in-restaurant experience, providing a 20-ingredient burrito bar to patrons. The strategy has strengthened diner loyalty — as of last year, 70% of Dos Toros’ catering orders were placed by repeat customers.

This two-pronged focus on off-premise could help both brands accelerate growth with the help of a shared loyalty program.

“This program will enhance the valuable relationships both brands, Chopt and Dos Toros, have with the customers,” Marsh said in a statement emailed to Restaurant Dive. “Our goal is to cement our loyal bases and expand our reach by encouraging trial between Chopt and Dos Toros and potentially additional brands in the future.”

Despite healthy growth and competitive off-premise offerings, both Chopt and Dos Toros have to contend with crowded restaurant segments. Rival salad chain Sweetgreen, for example, bought meal delivery company Galley Foods in Washington, D.C. last year, which will give the chain access to Galley’s logistics technology, courier operations and production capacity. The chain also opened an ambitious “3.0” store format in built to maximize efficiency, though this model has experienced hiccups since opening. And Dos Toros is nowhere close to Chipotle’s annual revenue — in 2018, the smaller chain reached $50 million, while Chipotle reported revenue of $4.8 billion. Still, if the brands continue to invest in off-premise efficiencies and perfect the loyalty piece, both could see increased diner engagement.

View source version at Chopt