Recent Press

Savory Fund To Host 5th Annual Restaurantology Conference – By Operators, for Operators

June 12, 2023
On Sept. 26, 2023, Savory will bring together 500 restaurant professionals for the FREE conference aimed to educate, encourage, and elevate the industry Lehi, UT ( Restaurantology® is served. For the fifth year in a row, Savory Fund, an innovative private equity firm that invests in emerging restaurant concepts, will host Restaurantology, the only conference […]

The rise of Savory Fund

June 5, 2023
The Savory Fund, an innovative private equity firm that invests in emerging restaurant concepts, is catapulting up-and-coming restaurants into rapid expansion with capital investment and a deep knowledge of restaurant operational efficiency. Led by food and beverage veterans Andrew and Shauna Smith, the Lehi-based fund owns and operates 145 restaurants in 11 states comprising nine […]

Mo’Bettahs tees up an endorsement deal with golfer Tony Finau

June 5, 2023
Mo’Bettahs Hawaiian Style Food has signed an endorsement with Tony Finau, a six-time PGA Tour champion, including the recent 2023 Mexico Open at Vidanta, and one of the stars of the Netflix docuseries “Full Swing.” This marks the first celebrity endorsement for the 15-year-old brand and it comes as Mo’Bettahs targets aggressive expansion. There are […]

Soda Brand Swig Wins Franchise Times Deal of the Year Honors

May 5, 2023
With her five kids age 5 to 15 buckled in the car, Nicole Tanner used to stop by the local Sonic to get soda “all the time because they had the good pebble ice,” but she realized “there was something missing in the experience, or your cup was gray and maybe smelled like onions.” She […]

Mo’ Bettahs, the Chain Bringing the Island of Oahu to Guests

March 31, 2023
The fast casual saw $2.1 million in AUV last year and its fifth straight year of same-store sales growth. Mo’ Bettahs has 40 locations nationwide. Stepping inside a Mo’ Bettahs restaurant is akin to stepping foot on the island of Oahu, where sibling founders Kimo and Kalani Mack were raised. The centerpiece of a Mo’ […]

Lessons From Savory Fund: Building Brands That Resonate

February 22, 2023
When he co-founded Savory Fund in 2020, Andrew K. Smith wanted to change the way private equity invests in restaurants. He had been dissatisfied with his own experiences as a young operator, when he needed more guidance than institutional investors were set up to give. But it wasn’t just his own experience; Smith saw a […]

10 Key Casual-Dining Restaurant Purchases from 2022

February 22, 2023
Purchasing Company: Savory Fund Sold Company: Sicilian Butcher Price Tag: Undisclosed  As part of the agreement, Savory Fund will invest up to $30 million in the Sicilian Butcher and the Sicilian Baker. Both emerging chains fall under the Maggiore Group, run by married couple Joey and Cristina Maggiore and their business partner, Flora Tersigni. Savory Fund […]

The 19 Most Impactful Restaurant Acquisitions of 2022

January 10, 2023
Purchasing Company: The Larry H. Miller Company Sold Company: Swig Price Tag: Undisclosed The Larry H. Miller Company purchased a majority share from Savory Fund, a food and beverage investment firm that’s owned Swig since 2018. As part of the transaction, founder Nicole Tanner and partners Chase Wardrop and Dylan Roeder kept their minority stakes. Tanner […]

Savory Fund Adds 6,100 Employees in 2022, Projects 11,000 Additional Jobs in 2023

January 3, 2023
Amidst economic uncertainty, Savory Fund wins three Comparably Awards — best culture, CEO, and workplace for women — and experiences incomparable growth across its 10 brands. Lehi, UT  (  Savory Fund, an innovative private equity firm that invests in emerging restaurant concepts, is adding thousands of jobs and boosting communities across the country. In 2022, Savory […]

Larry H. Miller Company acquires majority stake in Savory Fund-owned Swig soda shop

December 13, 2022
Savory Fund-owned Swig — the drive-thru customized “dirty soda” concept based in Salt Lake City, Utah — announced Tuesday that real estate and entertainment investment company, the Larry H. Miller Company, has acquired a majority stake in the brand, though terms of the transaction were not disclosed. This news comes on the heels of the […]

Via 313 Pizzeria Names Ray Risley CEO

November 2, 2022
Via 313 Pizzeria, famous for its genuine Detroit-style pizza, has named Ray Risley as its Chief Executive Officer. Risley is the former President and COO of Front Burner Restaurant Group’s Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar brand. Prior to that, he was the President of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. At Front Burner, Risley was responsible for […]

Swig Hires Rian McCartan as CEO

October 20, 2022
Swig, home of the iconic Dirty Soda, announced Rian McCartan as its Chief Executive Officer. McCartan is the former Vice President of Global Retail and Real Estate for See’s Candy, a Berkshire Hathaway Company. Prior to working for the 100-year-old iconic chocolate company, McCartan held leadership positions with Fortune 500 retailers like American Eagle Outfitters, Williams-Sonoma, Inc., […]

Savory Fund acquires majority interest stake in The Sicilian Butcher with up to $30 million investment

October 12, 2022
Private equity firm Savory Fund has announced its 10th emerging brand investment — acquiring a majority interest stake in Joey Maggiore concept, The Sicilian Butcher. This is the second investment Savory Fund has made in a Maggiore brand, following the $20 million investment in Hash Kitchen in Nov. 2021. This time around, Savory Fund is allocating up to […]


August 3, 2022
86 Repairs has raised $15.2 million for its technology that helps restaurants manage equipment repairs and maintenance. The Series A round was led by B2B-focused investor Storm Ventures and also featured the first tech investment from Savory Fund, the $200 million offshoot of Mercato Partners that is focused on emerging restaurant concepts. It comes a […]

86 Repairs Lands $15.2M to Continue Changing the Game of Restaurant Repairs and Maintenance

August 3, 2022
The restaurant industry moves quickly, meaning any disruption in services can be a big hit, especially if it happens during a busy period for the establishment. 86 Repairs offers a solution to that with a platform built around on-demand repairs and preventative maintenance. It includes insights and support that can help restaurants focus on business and not […]

Saigon Hustle Wins Savory Fund’s Million Dollar Restaurant Launch Opportunity

August 3, 2022
From steep competition of over 240 applicants across the East and West coast, Savory Fund announced Saigon Hustle as the winner of its Million Dollar Restaurant Launch opportunity. Last fall, Savory Fund announced a one-of-a-kind opportunity called the Million Dollar Restaurant Launch, to award an inspiring restaurant entrepreneur the resources to launch their concept or scale to their second location. With their $1 […]

Savory Fund announces winner for its ‘Million Dollar Restaurant Launch’

August 3, 2022
Saigon Hustle, a Houston-based fast casual serving locally sourced versions of Vietnamese classics, was named the winner of the Million Dollar Restaurant Launch, an opportunity provided by private equity firm Savory Fund. Savory is investing $1 million into Saigon Hustle and its cofounders, Cassie Ghaffar and Sandy Nguyen, while also giving them access to the […]

Savory Restaurant Fund Awards

July 26, 2022
Savory Restaurant Fund won 4 awards in 2022. In 2022, Savory Restaurant Fund won for Best Career Growth 2022, Best CEOs for Women 2022, Best Places to Work in Salt Lake City 2022 and Best Company Outlook 2022. Based on 1,410 ratings and 49 participants, employees at Savory Restaurant Fund are very satisfied with their […]

Savory Fund invests $20M in Hash Kitchen breakfast-brunch concept

November 10, 2021
Investment company Savory Fund has acquired a $20 million stake in the five-unit breakfast-brunch concept Hash Kitchen of Scottsdale, Ariz., the companies announced Wednesday. Andrew Smith, a general manager the Lehi, Utah-based restaurant fund, said Savory, similar to its recent investment in Pincho, would retain the founding Maggiore Group to manage the five-unit Hash Kitchen. […]

$200 Million Savory Fund Invests in Burger and Kebab Concept, Pincho

September 16, 2021
Savory Fund announced today that it has invested in the popular burger and kebab concept, Pincho. The Miami-based fast-casual chain is the latest brand to attract growth capital from Mercato Partners’ $200 million Savory Fund, which was created to back promising emerging restaurant concepts. Founded in 2010 by serial entrepreneur Otto Othman, Pincho’s Latin-inspired menu features burgers, kebabs, salads, […]

2021 Restaurantology Conference to Be Held in Salt Lake City in September

September 9, 2021
More than 350 restaurant founders and leadership teams will gather in Salt Lake City next month to learn the critical steps necessary to evolve from promising emerging concepts to powerhouse brands. Hosted by the Savory Fund, the 2021 Restaurantology Conference is scheduled for Sept. 28 at the University of Utah’s Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt […]

Mercato’s Andrew Smith: Now is a “Golden Age” for Restaurants

July 16, 2021
The restaurant sector was one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, but the industry is rebounding rapidly, as consumers embrace going out again. Mercato Partners is jumping at the opportunity. The private equity fund, headquartered in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, near Salt Lake City, raised $100 million for its Savory Fund in October 2020, and […]

Mercato Partners Bets on Post-Pandemic Restaurant Rebound With New $100 Million Fund

June 2, 2021
Armed with a new $100 million fund, Mercato Partners is again looking to back promising restaurant concepts as more cities and towns across the U.S. cautiously set aside coronavirus restrictions. The Utah-based private-equity firm has raised Savory Fund II to build a portfolio of six or seven small, but fast-growing restaurant brands that it can […]

Emerging Detroit-Style Pizza Brand Set to Rocket Out of Austin

April 22, 2021
Via 313 Pizzeria to more than double in size in 2021 serving genuine Detroit-style pizza. It’s wowed pizza fans in its home town, carved out a slice of the pizza category with a distinct and delicious product, and scored a coveted “Pizzeria of the Year” honor. Now Via 313 Pizzeria is aiming to take its […]

TikTok is obsessed with a Utah-based fast food chain and its ‘dirty soda’ drinks — here’s why

January 26, 2021 - Posted via Yahoo News
If you haven’t visited a Swig before, it’s probably because you don’t live in Utah. Or, it’s because you haven’t been on TikTok lately. The Utah-based fast food chain is currently going viral on the app, with users driving from miles away — and sometimes waiting in incredibly long lines — to visit it. So what is it that’s […]

Savory Names Shauna Smith as CEO

November 23, 2020
Shauna Smith brings more than 10 years worth of executive management experience in the food and beverage industry. Savory Management Group announced Shauna Smith’s promotion to chief executive officer. Smith previously served as president and will continue to utilize her deep background and expertise to grow Savory’s portfolio of thriving restaurant brands. The unique, $100 […]

Advice for Restaurant Owners During and After COVID-19

November 9, 2020
There’s no question that the restaurant industry has been one of the business sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with dire predictions from experts about the percentage – possibly as high as 60 percent, according to Yelp’s 2020 Economic Impact Report – of establishments that may not survive. That said, restaurant owners are also […]

The Crack Shack to reach up to 50 locations with Savory investment

November 4, 2020
After opening the first The Crack Shack to overwhelming success in San Diego, founder Mike Rosen began expanding the modern fried chicken concept to new markets. But Rosen realized the growing pains of building restaurants to scale. Now, those details are in the hands of Savory. The $90 million growth fund, created earlier this year, […]

$100 Million Fund Savory Invests in Via 313 to Fuel Growth

October 13, 2020
Savory Tuesday announced its investment in Via 313, an award-winning restaurant concept specializing in Detroit-style pizza based in Austin, Texas. Together, Savory and Via 313 will look to further grow the highly touted brand into new locations. This is the second investment in the past month for Savory (Crack Shack was the first). The inaugural […]

Crack Shack investor Savory adds Detroit-style pizza restaurant Via 313 to portfolio

October 13, 2020
The growing pizzeria concept from Austin, Texas will add more than a dozen new units over the next 24 months with Savory investment While living in Texas, Brandon and Zane Hunt yearned for pizza that reminded them of their Detroit upbringing. So the two brothers launched Via 313 in a trailer in Austin, Texas nine years […]

How Britain’s Restaurant Crisis Can Be Eased by Private Equity

July 29, 2020 - Posted via Bloomberg
As of today, restaurants in England can reopen. While that could herald a rush of customers, the date didn’t come soon enough for some — a swathe of establishments have closed permanently. With Covid-19 still spreading and the outlook bleak, restaurants will need cash to survive the bad times. They’ll also need to adjust their […]

Scaling 101 for Restaurants: The Must-Have Ingredients

July 15, 2020 - Posted via QSR Magazine
In every good dish of food there are key flavors and ingredients that make it consistently and repeatedly delicious. Finding the right balance and combination of sweet, sour, salty, and bitter will work every single time, for every dish. The same is true with scaling a restaurant concept from one or two locations to 20 […]

Mercato Partners Forms $90 Million Fund for Restaurant Concepts

June 11, 2020 - Posted via Wall Street Journal
Growth investment firm Mercato Partners is whetting its appetite for restaurant deals with a new $90 million fund formed in partnership with veteran sector investor Andrew K. Smith.  The new Savory Fund I will provide capital to help fill what Mr. Smith, a managing director, says has been a dearth of institutional support for emerging […]

Mercato Partners just launched Savory, a $90 million fund focused on fueling fast-casual restaurant concepts

June 11, 2020 - Posted via TechCrunch
Mercato Partners,  a 13-year-old, Salt Lake City, Utah-based investment firm that oversees a growth fund, a secondary investment fund and a venture fund, has launched yet another fund — this one a $90 million vehicle that the firm says will be used to invest in restaurant concepts that are gaining traction. Its timing is interesting, given […]

Mercato Partners Closes $90M Savory Fund to Develop Emerging Restaurants

June 4, 2020 - Posted via QSR Magazine
Savory fills a noticeable void in the food and beverage industry by delivering access to growth capital together with an award-winning restaurant operations team of more than 50 industry veterans who formerly led restaurant development at Four Foods Group, one of the fastest-growing restaurant operators in the nation. Mercato Partners Thursday announced its inaugural food […]

Mercato Partners Unveils $90M Fund To Invest In Profitable Restaurant Concepts

June 4, 2020 - Posted via Crunchbase
While some restaurants have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, one venture firm is taking a $90 million bet on the industry. Salt Lake City, Utah-based Mercato Partners has formed its inaugural food and beverage fund to invest in profitable restaurants looking to scale. Mercato Partners managing director Greg Warnock has partnered with restaurant industry veteran and former […]

Mercato Partners Announces the Close of $90 Million Savory Fund I to Develop Promising Restaurant Concepts

June 4, 2020 - Posted via PR Newswire
Andrew K. Smith joins Mercato Partners and leads the newly formed Savory Fund with Mercato founder Greg Warnock and is currently deploying more than $90M New Mercato Partners fund, Savory, partners with high-potential restaurant concepts unlocking new value through a unique offering of capital and multi-unit growth expertise Savory’s portfolio thrives amid the economic downturn […]

Growth fund Mercato Partners launches $90 million Savory Fund to develop emerging fast-casual brands

June 4, 2020 - Posted via Nation's Restaurant News
Managing director Andrew Smith, former CEO of Four Foods Group, said Savory is filling a gap in private equity investment. Over 12 years at Four Foods Group, Andrew Smith built an empire of food and beverage brands that generated about a billion dollar in sales at 170 restaurant locations across the country. But despite the […]
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