Holy guacamole!

Austin's homegrown taco chain may spice up growth with $300 million stock offering

Austin taco chain may spice up growth with $300 million stock offering

Torchy's Tacos queso
From an Austin food truck to the New York Stock Exchange. Torchy's Tacos/ Facebook

Just four months after reeling in an investment of $400 million, homegrown chain Torchy’s Tacos reportedly is pursuing an IPO that would value the company at $1 billion.

Citing unnamed sources, the Bloomberg news service reported March 14 that Austin-based Torchy’s is pondering an IPO — perhaps as soon as this year — that could raise $300 million. Plans for the IPO haven’t been finalized, though. Torchy’s and its major investors are staying mum about the potential IPO.

Last month, the Austin Business Journal reported the company operated 83 restaurants in the U.S. and was eyeing a total of 100 locations by the end of 2021. Michael Rypka founded Torchy’s in 2006 as an Austin food truck. Proceeds from an IPO could further spur the chain’s growth.

Torchy’s announced in November that it had collected $400 million in venture capital from private equity firm General Atlantic, the taco chain’s major owner, along with investment firm D1 Capital Partners, investment manager T. Rowe Price, and hedge funds Lone Pine Capital and XN. Rypka and other members of the original ownership group also chipped in money.

Torchy’s — the proud home of “damn good” tacos — wouldn’t be the only publicly traded taco purveyor in Austin.

In 2012, Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s went public in a nearly $80 million IPO. Chuy’s posted revenue of $321 million last year, down from $426.4 million in 2019. Same-store sales for the year fell 22.1 percent compared with 2019 as a result of pandemic shutdowns. As of December 27, Chuy’s operated 92 restaurants in 17 states.