Guzman y Gomez raise $44 million to launch in US

guzmanMexican casual dining business Guzman y Gomez (GYG) has secured $44 million from local investment firm TDM Growth Partners to aid its global expansion and support its investment in technology.

The new funding will be used to grow the existing footprint of close to 120 restaurants and drive-thrus across Australia, Singapore and Japan, and fuel expansion into new markets, including the US.

GYG is looking to open its first store in the US in Chicago in the first quarter of calendar year 2019, according to founder and global CEO Steven Marks.

The company is currently looking at five possible locations, and plans to bring over a large contingent from its Australian head office to assist with the opening.

“Opening in the US takes investment. We’re not a mediocre player. We’re trying to build a super high-performing business backed by culture,” Marks told IR.

When GYG launched in Newtown in 2006, there were few players offering “authentic” Mexican food Down Under. That has changed, but overall, the market is still far less developed than in the US.

Marks is adamant that GYG’s menu can withstand scrutiny in the US market.

“Australia is a difficult to be successful in, but we just did it better than anyone else. Our food – in my opinion – is so much better, and the people are exceptional,” he said.

“When you go to the US, you have a lot of people supporting mediocre brands. We’re not a mediocre brand.

Marks added that the company’s Aussie heritage might even help it stand out.

“I may trick it up a little and put some different things on the menu than are available in Australia. They [in the US] don’t know what barramundi is,” he said.

The new funding will also be used to strengthen GYG’s technical foundations, including its operating platform, which Marks claims to be the fastest in the industry.

This is crucial to be able to sell food in a drive-thru setting and through delivery apps like Deliveroo and Uber Eats.

Marks said GYG is already top brand on Deliveroo and one of the top ones on Uber Eats.

“Our model works. It’s about taking it to the next level, and that takes constant investment,” he said

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