Partners Group, the global private markets investment manager, has acquired a substantial minority stake in Green Tea Restaurant (“the Company”), a leading Chinese casual dining restaurant chain, on behalf of its clients. The founders continue to hold the remainder of the equity, in order to support the restaurant chain in the next phase of its growth.
Founded in 2008 with the opening of a single restaurant in Hangzhou, Green Tea Restaurant is today one of the best-known casual dining brands in China. The Company has built a chain of 78 wholly-owned restaurants across 19 cities, mainly in shopping malls. Green Tea, the Company’s main brand, serves Chinese fusion cuisine in a traditional dining environment, while Play King, launched in January 2016, serves a more casual Western menu in a youthful, modern setting. The Company employs over 4,500 people and serves around 15 million customers annually.
Partners Group will draw on its long track record of investment in the food and restaurant sectors globally to support the continued rollout of the Green Tea Restaurant brands in China alongside the Company’s management team and its founders. Post-investment value creation initiatives will include projects aimed at enhancing the Company’s marketing strategy and corporate governance framework, as well as optimizing site selection for new restaurants, with help from Partners Group’s Industry Value Creation and Real Estate teams.
Qinsong Wang and Changmei Lu, the Co-Founders of Green Tea Restaurant, state: “Since its inception, Green Tea Restaurant has operated as a family business and we are extremely proud of the rapid growth it has achieved. To keep pace with this growth, we recognize the need to further institutionalize our business and are very pleased to be welcoming Partners Group as a partner into our business. We have been impressed by the firm’s proven track record in the sector and believe our combined experience will allow Green Tea Restaurant to carry out its ambitious expansion plans.”
Following the transaction, Tim Pihl Johannessen, a Managing Director in Partners Group’s Industry Value Creation team, and Sheng Liu, a Senior Vice President in Partners Group’s Private Equity Asia team, will join the Board of Directors at Green Tea Restaurant.
Sheng Liu comments: “Green Tea Restaurant is a well-established brand in a resilient sector supported by a highly experienced team. The Company’s fast roll-out has been supported by secular trends, such as increasing disposable income and urbanization, as well as by the growing number of shopping malls in China and the expansion of the casual dining sector, which is seen as offering value-for-money dining experiences. We look forward to working with the founders and their team to further tap into this attractive growth market.”