Native Grill Lands Private Investment Deal to Fuel Growth
Native Grill started as Native New Yorker back in the 1970s, in Chandler, Arizona.
Dan Chaon, CEO of Native Grill & Wings, put together an unusual group of private investors, including himself, to purchase the system this week and set it up for more rapid growth.
He wouldn’t disclose the amount of the capital infusion, but said Brad Williams, one of the largest Freddy’s franchisees in the United States, who has a 60-store development deal with that brand, is the other lead investor. Real estate players make up the rest of the small group.
Plus, three daughters of Native Grill founders Floyd, now deceased, and Judy Anderson retain a small "legacy" stake in the brand. The Anderson family took a road trip from Buffalo, New York, to Arizona in the ‘70s, and started Native New Yorker in 1978. The name was changed to Native Grill along the way, and developed a cult following in the state.
The daughters brought Chaon on in 2010 to scale up the brand. There were 14 restaurants at the time. Today that number is 32 and counting. Chaon hopes to add as many as 150 restaurants over the next five years.
Armed with new capital, his team plans to seed new markets with a corporate store or two, then build out the cities with franchises. Some locations will host both restaurants—a Freddy’s Frozen Custards & Steakburgers and a Native Grill & Wings, a combination Chaon believes will be a hit.