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T. Rowe Price, Ron Shaich invest $70M in BJ’s Restaurants

Investment supports continuity of casual-dining chain post-pandemic

Ron Shaich and his investment firm, Act III Holdings, and funds controlled by T. Rowe Price Associates have invested $70M in BJ’s Restaurants. Huntington Beach, Calif.-based BJ’s has produced some of the highest AUVs (average unit sales) and guest traffic growth, according to Shaich, who founded Panera Bread and has become legendary within restaurant-chain circles.

The investment is expected to help 209-unit BJ’s Restaurants endure past the COVID-19 pandemic.

“BJ’s ability to stay ahead of changing consumer trends, while remaining true to its brand heritage, provides a platform to ignite future growth, and the opportunity to more than double its current restaurant footprint,” said Shaich.

“BJ’s maintains a strong concept and brand, with a long-term focus on sales driving and productivity initiatives, future growth prospects, and the daily commitment of our valued team members,” said BJ’s CEO Greg Trojan. “We believe this investment will prove invaluable as we reopen our dining rooms and continue to deliver the delicious food, dining experiences and guest service and hospitality that consumers have come to love and expect from BJ’s.”

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Act III Holdings manages a $300M fund to invest in growth companies. The company was part of group of investors that helped Cava purchase fast-casual Zoe’s Kitchen for $300M in 2018.

BofA Securities served as exclusive financial advisor to BJ’s Restaurants, while Elkins Kalt Weintraub Reuben Gartside LLP served as legal advisor in the transaction. Act III Holdings received legal counsel from Sullivan & Cromwell LLP,

Photo credit: BJ’s Restaurants

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