When it comes to eating healthy, taking the time to find food that tastes good, but that is also good for you, is not alw...
Note: This deal is is being conducted on an expedited basis due to circumstances relating to COVID-19 and pursuant to the SEC's temporary regulatory COVID-19 relief.
Consumers lack healthy, plant-forward (& delicious) quick-serve restaurant options, despite increasing demand
Consumers want delicious, high quality, locally sourced food, served quickly and safely, that fits within their busy lives and health goals. But options on most university campuses and in most markets generally remain extremely limited. There are few national restaurant brands that meet evolving expectations, leaving thousands of markets in our country ripe for the growth of the quick-serve, healthy concept.
And with COVID, the number of restaurants open continues to decrease with an estimated 100,000 restaurant closures by year end 2020, creating demand that is greater than supply and a surplus of available real estate opportunities.
Bring Village Juice Co.'s healthy, plant-forward, quick-serve model to college campuses & underserved markets through Aramark licensing & franchising
To meet the growing need for clean food that is full of nutrients, free of artificial anything, and quickly accessible, Village Juice Co. (AKA Village Juice or VJC) is focusing its growth on areas that are lacking these quality options. And our strategy is simple: license VJC on college campuses through our national licensing agreement with Aramark, sell franchise units in underserved markets, and offer on-the-go products through wholesale distribution.
We do this by providing:
- High quality, innovative, delicious products prepared fresh with scratch-made ingredients
- In-store, carry out, grab-and-go, and curbside pickup options
- Curated, in-store experience great for eating, meeting friends, or studying/working
Traditional and express floor plans offer flexibility in selecting locations
Since available spaces can vary by geography, we have worked with nationally renowned architects, engineers, kitchen designers, and interior designers to create multiple floor plans for retail locations. Having options offers flexibility in location selection and expedites growth and expansion.
Traditional floor plan (1800 - 2400 sq ft)
- More room for seating (indoor and outdoor)
- Easy to offer both takeout and dine-in
- Greater retail space opportunities
- Ability to make juice in-house, providing higher return on juice sales
- Target locations include:
- on or near college and university campuses
- vibrant downtown areas
- high traffic, urban commuter walking routes
- “up and coming” mixed-use communities
Express floor plan (650 - 850 sq ft)
- Potential lower overhead/higher margins
- Accommodates increased desire for carry out
- Target locations include:
- food halls (on the rise)
- food courts
- areas supporting gyms, coffee shops, health food stores, and other non-competitive retail areas
More than "just juice"
We are proud to offer award-winning, high quality, innovative food and beverages. Although we started off as "just juice," our concept has grown to support a full line of products that allows for a broader customer base and appeal. We use the freshest, highest quality ingredients available. Our products are made-to-order to ensure quality and freshness.
Our products taste so great that customers started calling our restaurants their “healthy addiction.” Plus, with a diverse menu, customers have options, which not surprisingly creates a diverse revenue stream for the business.
Our menu also ensures seasonal success. In the winter months, not everyone wants a cold smoothie, so we offer seasonal items, like broth bowls, to balance out the model and keep up revenue.
From farmers' market to national growth
Customer validation has supported the growth of our brand resulting in YOY revenue increases.
In 2014, we started selling cold-pressed juices out of a tent at our local farmers’ market. Our products were so well received that we started home deliveries and purchased a juice truck. We quickly outgrew the truck and opened our first brick-and-mortar in 2016. When our customers followed us there, we just kept growing. We now have 5 full-service restaurants – 2 company-owned, 2 Aramark licensees on college campuses, 1 open franchise, 3 additional franchises sold, and a growing network of wholesale channels.
Target market & customers
Our primary objective is identifying markets that satisfy the above demographic which lacks dining options similar to ours. This includes universities (on-campus locations), college towns, and communities with above-average education and income. VJC is primarily plant-based and resonates with college students and food and health enthusiasts.
Consistently positive reviews
Our clients are people on the go looking to increase their health without sacrificing taste and experience. All of our locations have received extremely positive reviews on Facebook, Google, and Yelp with our clients praising our friendly service and delicious offerings.
Nearly unlimited growth potential with diverse revenue model & key partnerships
Village Juice Co. has significant growth opportunities in several channels, alleviating risk and boosting brand awareness across the board. We've also formed key strategic partnerships to support our aggressive growth strategies.
Licensing on University Campuses through Aramark
Perhaps our most exciting growth opportunity is our partnership with Aramark. As a premier brand within Aramark's Harvest Table Culinary Group, and as a preferred brand in the Aramark stable of brands generally, Village Juice Co. has access to hundreds of campuses nationally, currently with high demand, but limited supply, of convenient, healthy, delicious meal options. Village Juice Co. is uniquely positioned for aggressive growth with Aramark.
Village Juice earns revenue from its partnership with Aramark in the form of an initial fee for each location that is opened on campus, in addition to monthly royalties from the gross sales at each restaurant. These fees are a source of recurring revenue, similar to the franchise fees earned at each location. The fees are confidential under the terms of the agreement and cannot be disclosed here.
Village Juice Co. has one franchise location open (in Charlotte, NC) and three currently under contract for expansion into Virginia. Our franchise model is simple and scalable, based upon low capital expenditure with reduced footprint, economic efficiencies, and few employees to manage. Additionally, our state-of-the-art production facility allows us to capitalize on bulk, discount purchasing while our supply chain provides a competitive advantage with location-specific fresh food sourcing through partnerships with local farmers and product excellence companies, such as Sysco/Fresh Point® and W.R. Vernon Produce Company.
As franchisor, we receive recurring revenue from franchisees for use of our trademarks, branding, business model, training, products, etc. Some key fees include:
- Initial Franchise Fee - $49,500
- Monthly Royalty Fee - 7% of Gross Sales
- Monthly National Advertising Fund Fee - 2% of Gross Sales
- Juice and Food Items - Dependent on need and inventory
Village Juice Co. is also expanding the reach of the brand with grab-and-go meals and other products through wholesale retail distribution, college campus convenience stores, and direct-to-consumer sales.
Wholesale profit will vary but is a third source of recurring revenue.
To support national growth, Village Juice has established key corporate partnerships – in collegiate dining, franchise sales and operations, real estate and construction management, marketing, and with a local startup incubator.
QSR industry reaches all-time high of $273B
Quick-serve (QSR) & fast casual restaurant valuations soar to new heights
In 2019, the US restaurant industry was booming. According to the National Restaurant Association, industry revenue reached $863B - 35% higher than that of hotels, airlines (passenger traffic), public transport, professional sports, cruise lines, taxis and ride-sharing services, and cinemas, combined.
And within the restaurant industry, quick-service restaurants (QSR) have led the charge. The QSR segment is the most dynamic and lucrative format within the food industry. QSR revenue grew by nearly $40B over the last two years, up to $273B in 2019.
Consumer trends have shifted even further toward QSR during the COVID pandemic and drive-thru and curbside pickup are more popular than ever. Village Juice is uniquely situated to be a leader in this category, combining the speed of fast food with exceptional healthy and delicious products.
Strong valuations in our sector
Restaurant valuations were consistently on the rise pre-COVID, but even post-Covid, valuations appear to be maintaining particularly strong traction and interest in concepts that embrace health and technology. Restaurant M&A transactions have reflected a positive investment environment for the food sector generally:
The same appeal that led QSR to thrive in sales is the same appeal that drives investors to place higher valuations on those brands compared to other restaurant concepts. Historically, QSR and fast-casual have achieved the highest restaurant valuations with QSR reaching a 14.3x median EBITDA in 2019:
Pre-COVID restaurant valuations were showing a positive trend towards healthy options and investors were willing to pay a premium. Alignment with consumer demand (and purpose) has been key to unlocking such high values. For example, the market recently placed the following valuations on brands similar in concept to Village Juice Co.:
VJC expects to expand our use of technology to capitalize on shifting consumer preferences with outdoor dining and a new geo-fencing app for curbside pickup. Our strategy towards embracing technology, in addition to enjoying a movement towards healthier eating, creates a positive future for the brand and future valuations. Healthy, convenient eating is here to stay and we expect it to pay off over the long-term future of the company.
Authentic, purpose-driven brands see higher multipliers at exit
Purpose-driven is not just about charitable contributions. If a well-managed brand is authentic, this generally leads to positive returns - in regard to profit margins, customer loyalty, employee retention, strong business partnerships, and earned media. All of this increases business value.
Multi-unit concepts typically bring higher valuations
Where an independent restaurant may historically expect a return of 2-3x EBITDA, successful, authentic, purpose-driven brands are rewarded with a much higher valuation multiplier north of 10, as demonstrated here:
A curated in-store experience, diverse menu, & cold-pressed juices that taste amazing set us apart
Village Juice is a consumer brand built on customer loyalty. Our products are lauded for their superior taste and health benefits. Our positioning statement reflects this: We make healthy and delicious food accessible to mindful patrons ready to be addicted to wellness. This position authentically speaks to the quality and deliciousness of our products and the loyalty of our patrons.
Our competition consists of QSR concepts that are similar in nature but lack the diversity of our menu, our quality of experience, and/or, importantly, the taste of our products. Here's how our product offerings compare:
There are six core areas that set us apart from our competition, keep our customers coming back, and set the stage for nearly unlimited growth.
- Superior quality, innovative food & beverage Village Juice is proud to offer award-winning, high quality, innovative food and beverages that truly taste amazing. Our products are prepared with scratch-made ingredients when ordered to ensure quality and freshness. That’s one reason we're passionate about using sampling as a marketing tactic. Once a customer tastes our products, they not only return frequently, but they recommend us to others. Plus, our broad menu selection is suitable for almost any taste or budget.
- Unparalleled hospitality At Village Juice, we believe our customers deserve unparalleled hospitality, not just customer service. We strive to make each customer’s experience inviting and pleasurable so they want to return to eat, meet friends, or study/work at the restaurant. We have comprehensive training for our staff so they understand what it means to run a great business and create unparalleled experiences for our customers.
- Employees We attract quality employees who align with the food, atmosphere, and culture of Village Juice. Our employees are excited to work for an organization that cares about the community they live in. Comprehensive training and ongoing support ensures that every customer and employee is treated with care and respect.
- Location analysis Through intense market and location analysis working with REP’M, our real estate and construction management company, we utilize advanced data to determine the best location for each Village Juice retail store. Examples of ideal locations include college campuses, close proximity to colleges and universities, vibrant downtown areas, high traffic, urban commuter walking routes, and “up and coming” mixed-use communities that combine innovative lifestyle businesses with high-density residential populated primarily by young professionals.
- Beautifully curated locations We are a "curated look" with attention to detail. Intentionally different from the overly value-engineered chains and franchises, we've created an atmosphere where customers enjoy spending time. And we do all of this while maintaining the “local feel” and dining experience of a company dedicated to serving its local community, no matter the location. We realize our guests have high standards and we need to earn their business.
- Technology driven Village Juice focuses on maximizing the consumer experience and streamlining operational efficiencies by utilizing a technology forward strategy, including:
- efficient operations due to technological advancements: cooking times are cut in half or more vs. traditional cooking methods.
- electric equipment package to reduce costs and cooking times and maintain consistency across the brand. Our recipes and cooking instructions are accessible via computers attached to our ovens.
- no hood and vent system required for our cooking operations, which makes location scouting easier and outfitting less expensive.
- new customer mobile app rolling out in Q4 2020 that includes geo-fencing curbside pickup, rewards program, in-store ordering, and more to improve the customer experience.
- new brand website launching in Q1 2021
VJC prepped for success within today's market
The Village Juice Co. vision goes beyond our restaurant walls. We seek to nourish people with honest food that inspires a connected, healthy community. Be sure to watch co-founder, Nate Atkinson's TEDx, How For-Profit Companies Can (And Should) Catalyze Social Change.
Our multi-channel model not only diversifies revenue sources, mitigates risk, and expedites growth, but it also boosts brand awareness for all channels.
The future of every restaurant remaining in 2020 revolves around their ability to succeed in a post-COVID world. Village Juice is still here today despite COVID-19 because of customer demand and loyalty and our dedication to offering the best ordering and dining experience - whether in-store or carry-out. We are uniquely positioned for success and ready to lead the segment post-COVID.
- 60 - 75% of our pre-COVID sales were already take-out, delivery, or curbside.
- Our "fast fresh" model has a proven track record in a thriving segment.
- We have a transparent, customer-first approach to safety and communication.
- We prioritize the safety of customers and employees by utilizing a contactless, cashless handoff experience.
- We have the ability to operate smaller footprint locations with our Express floor plan.
- A vacuum of opportunity has been created from closing restaurants.
- There is an expanding customer base trending toward healthier eating.
100+ locations signed in 5 years
We expect to grow rapidly. With opportunities abundant in the market, including amazing real estate options and customer demand, we believe we can sign 100+ new locations within the next 5 years, targeting universities and strategic franchising opportunities. Our partnership with Aramark, the second-largest university food service provider in the United States, offers significant opportunities for successful and aggressive expansion.
$1.2M+ raised to date
Village Juice is proud to have raised money with convertible notes from private capital including angel investors that bring strategic value to the company at this early stage.
We are honored to have investments from a diverse group of individuals and companies showing well-rounded support and confidence from the private equity sector, our franchise development partner, our produce distribution partner, and even from an employee on our executive team.
Having the support, experience, and ability to grow together with the right partners gives Village Juice Co. both the capital and resources to make our expansion strategy possible.
Lonnie spent the last decade learning the value of a health-conscious lifestyle and developing recipes to support it. A graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design, she worked for years in sales until discovering her true passion while working in health-focused restaurants in New York and California. Lonnie’s restaurant experience in larger markets allowed her to witness first-hand the shifting demand for healthy options and master the ability to mix delicious flavors into a healthy menu. After years of product research and development of a creative, delicious array of beverages, Village Juice Co. was formed in 2014.
A lawyer, a real estate guy, and a creative foodie walk into the restaurant business … Nate left his legal career to help his wife, Lonnie, follow her passion of creating healthy foods that taste amazing. He then invited his college friend, Clyde, to join in on the fun. Today, they’re excited to share their passion with licensees, franchisees, college students, foodies, and health enthusiasts through national brand expansion.
A graduate of Wake Forest University and Mercer University School of Law, Nate practiced law for over 15 years, focusing on employment law, commercial litigation, and environmental law. While he helped co-found Village Juice Co. in 2014, Nate left his dedicated law career and joined full-time in 2018 as the company’s Business Director and legal counsel.Upon graduation from Wake Forest University, CP worked for 20 years in the real estate industry, focusing on land development and property management, where he served as a partner and Executive Vice President. He co-founded Village Juice Co. in 2014 and joined full time as Finance Director in 2018, bringing his knowledge and experience in finance, real estate, and construction.