Case Study



There’s growing evidence that consumers look for companies that integrate social and environmental factors into their business plan, and the way we look at it, it’s just good business to do those things.

Chris Tomasso CEO and President of First Watch

The company

  • Region: USA
  • Sector: Consumer
  • Stage: Large Buyout
  • Highlights:
Restaurants across 32 US states
Donations made to Share Our Strength’s "No Kid Hungry" campaign

Private Equity Manager (GP)

Case study

About the company

First Watch Restaurants is the largest and fastest growing daytime-only restaurant concept in the USA. The company was founded 35 years ago in Pacific Grove, California, and has won many customer, industry and local awards for its healthy and innovative menu.

Partnering for good

First Watch partners with organisations with a clear social mission, while harnessing its normal business and purchasing practices to benefit quality suppliers that invest in their own communities.

  • The company contributes 25 cents from every child’s meal sold to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.
  • In addition, First Watch has partnered with an organisation called Mujeres en Café to create Project Sunrise, the new First Watch branded coffee. Mujeres en Café is a women-led organisation in Colombia that helps female farmers to navigate the coffee business in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Through Mujeres en Café, the women are collectively becoming a stronger force in the local market, improving their ability to negotiate compensation and increasing the productivity of their farms.

Why invest in the company

Advent was attracted to First Watch because it is a health-orientated restaurant concept focused on breakfast, a growing segment of the restaurant market. The company has strong customer loyalty and a scalable business, with significant whitespace for new restaurants.

In conducting due diligence on the investment, Advent identified the opportunity to develop a more formal corporate social responsibility programme and more strongly communicate existing sustainability initiatives. Post-investment, this has translated into the development of the Project Sunrise initiative and more robust programmes related to data security and food safety.

Our relationship

In 2017, PIP committed to Advent International Global Private Equity VIII which then invested in First Watch. PIP places importance on Pantheon’s commitment to incorporating ESG factors in its investment and decision-making processes, and its ability to monitor the policies and progress of managers and their underlying portfolio companies.

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