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Bradenton-based First Watch takes first step to take restaurant chain public

The company plans to trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “FWRG.
First Watch aims to localize each of its breakfast-brunch spots with a mural by Bradenton artist Angela Delaplane. Here, tribute is paid to Hernando County's citrus heritage. The company announced its going public this week.
First Watch aims to localize each of its breakfast-brunch spots with a mural by Bradenton artist Angela Delaplane. Here, tribute is paid to Hernando County's citrus heritage. The company announced its going public this week.
Published Sep. 9

First Watch is going public.

The Bradenton-based breakfast and lunch restaurant chain announced this week that it filed an S-1 registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the first step in moving toward listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company plans to trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “FWRG.” The number of shares being offered, as well as the price range for a proposed initial public offering, have not been determined.

In a press release, the company said it intends to use the proceeds from the offering to repay outstanding borrowings from its credit facilities.

In its S-1 statement, First Watch detailed its financial position over the past few years.

Over the six-year period ending in 2019, the company delivered an average of 6.3% annual same-restaurant sales growth. Sales at company-owned restaurants totaled $429 million in 2019, up from $342 million the year before.

First Watch, the Bradenton-based breakfast and lunch restaurant chain, has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a possible initial public offering. Pictured is Chris Tomasso, the company’s CEO and president.

Sales dipped to $337 million in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to documents, but have since rebounded to $483 million in the 12 months ending this June.

In a press release, the company said it intends to use the proceeds from the offering to repay outstanding borrowings from its credit facilities.
In a press release, the company said it intends to use the proceeds from the offering to repay outstanding borrowings from its credit facilities.

As of June 27, First Watch had 423 restaurants, including 335 owned by the company and 88 operated by franchisees.

Its address is 8725 Pendery Place, named after the company’s former CEO and chairman emeritus, Kenneth L. Pendery, Jr.

This summer, First Watch moved into new, 39,000-square-foot standalone headquarters in University Park, just off Cooper Creek Boulevard in Manatee County.