January 06, 2009 // Franchising.com // Washington, D.C., — Vapiano, the innovative fresh casual restaurant and lounge has received funding from three European banks for a total of 45 million Euro ($62.5 million USD) to fund Vapiano's expansion throughout several years. Vapiano has also acquired a strategic equity partner who will provide another 5 million Euro ($7m USD). Vapiano will take full advantage of this infusion of capital and continue an already successful expansion of its hot concept.
Currently Vapiano International operates nearly 45 restaurants in fourteen countries and expects to open 44 to 55 new locations by the end of 2009. In the U.S. alone the company has closed deals for six stores in Southwest Florida, ten in Dallas, two in San Jose, five in Houston and three stores in Boston, Detroit and Atlanta. New international locations are in the making throughout Mexico, Australia, Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Serbia, Croatia and France. Open international locations include 26 in Germany, two in Holland and Hungary and one in Belgium, Estonia, London, The Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Poland, Turkey and the UAE.
"We are opening a new restaurant every month, in a different country for almost each store, and it's getting tricky to continue self funding," says Vapiano President, Kent Hahne. "This new capital will allow us to grow faster and take advantage of the amazing real estate we are being offered while so many other restaurant concepts are sitting on the sidelines."
Vapiano recently announced expansion into major markets including Detroit, Atlanta, Houston and Dallas. With 80 units in development through just the next four to eight years, Vapiano will put this new capital to great use. Vapiano's U.S. operations began only one year ago when they opened a head office in McLean, Virginia and three company stores in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. The fourth, much-anticipated D.C. location will open in February of 2009.
Vapiano appeared in Fast Casual Magazine's 2008 list of 'Movers and Shakers' for the second year in a row and was named one of the top ten "Best Employers" in Germany for 2008. Vapiano President, Kent Hahne, was named a finalist for CMO of the Year by Booz Allen Hamilton in 2007. In 2006, Vapiano won the coveted European Hot Concept Award from Food Service Europe & Middle East.
Vapiano is an innovative, fast casual European concept serving made-to-order fire roasted pizzas, fresh, house-made pasta and hand tossed gourmet salads. Vapiano continues to garner global attention for their approach to dining – dishes are prepared at high temperature exhibition style wok stations, fresh herbs adorn each table and a unique chip card payment system rounds out each diner's ultra-modern experience. The restaurant's pioneering self-service technology and unmistakable upscale décor has created a huge customer fan base and helped fuel the company's worldwide expansion. Restaurants are 5,000-8,000 square feet and seat 180-220 guests.