Analysis: Why CAVA’s Revenue is Steadily Rising

falafel, food, arabic

The CAVA restaurant chain is killin’ it, seizing upon the growing popularity of Mediterranean food, as well as the build-your-own-meal concept.

CAVA has officially announced plans to go forward with an initial public offering after seeing revenue grow 12.8% in 2022 and jumping 28% in the 16 weeks that ended April 16, regulatory filings showed.

Dan Rowe, CEO of Fransmart, told The Food Institute, Mediterranean cuisine is extremely popular, and CAVA has managed to present it in “exceptionally” well-run, clean and modern establishments.

“Customers vote with their wallets and high volume means customers just love it,” Rowe said, noting service is “lightening quick” and the food “travels well.” Additionally, the company is ahead of the tech curve and enjoys low turnover, he said, adding:

“Any way you look at this — employees’ perspective, customers’ perspective or investors’ perspective — this concept just works.”

“Over the past 12 years, we have established ourselves as the only national player at scale in the fast-growing Mediterranean category, with more than twice the number of restaurants compared to our next largest competitor in the category,” the chain said in its filing.

“Our brand and our opportunity transcend the Mediterranean category to compete in the large and growing limited-service restaurant sector, as well as the health and wellness food category,” the filing added.

CAVA currently has 263 locations and hopes to expand its footprint to 1,000 by 2032. The company said it develops comprehensive marketing plans before entering new markets and uses a data-driven approach as well as demographics in determining where new units should be opened. The chain said its consumer base is 55% female; 28%, 25-34 years old, with 37% earning more than $150,000 annually.

In February, Adam Leff, Merchant Centric’s chief strategy officer, told The Food Institute that CAVA garnered positive customer reviews for its relatively healthy, Mediterranean-inspired menu featuring protein items ranging from chicken to falafel to meatballs, with a variety of greens, as well.

Though the restaurant chain, founded in 2006, has yet to report a profit, regulatory filings showed net sales hit $564.1 million last year. In 2018, the company bought the Zoes chain and took it private; It’s expected to finish converting the last eight Zoe’s locations to the CAVA concept by fall.

The Food Institute Podcast

The reasons people eat a specific product can vary even in a single day. That begs the question – what are consumers looking for in their food products throughout a day, a week, and a year? Kerry’s Soumya Nair and Shannon Coco joined The Food Institute Podcast to share Kerry’s research on the fluid dynamics of consumer eating.