First Watch Restaurant Group has concluded the previously announced acquisition of 21 franchise-owned restaurants and their development rights in North Carolina, US.

The daytime dining chain, known for its breakfast, brunch and lunch offerings, secured the deal for an aggregate purchase price of $75m on a cash-free, debt-free basis.

The acquired restaurants will deliver average unit volumes and restaurant-level operating profit margins consistent with First Watch’s company-owned outlets.

First Watch CEO Chris Tomasso emphasised the significance of the associated development rights, which open up opportunities for organic growth in a crucial market area.

Tomasso said: “This acquisition fortifies our organisation and strengthens our ranks as we welcome more than 600 new employees into our corporate-owned system and You First culture – a responsibility that’s very important to us.”

The latest transaction underscores First Watch’s long-term growth strategy, marking a significant expansion of its corporate-owned portfolio.

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Since May 2023, First Watch has acquired 44 franchised restaurants across 17 designated market areas through six separate acquisitions.

Tomasso added: “This acquisition, which represents our largest First Watch franchise acquisition to date, is an important part of our long-term growth and value creation strategy.”

In August 2023, First Watch acquired six of its previously franchise-owned restaurants in Georgia and South Carolina for an undisclosed sum.

The company also acquired the restaurants’ corresponding development rights, funding the deal with available cash on hand.

Last month, First Watch teamed up with payment technology company Up ‘n Go to enhance the dining experience by deploying pay-at-the-table technology.

The restaurant company has deployed Up ‘n Go’s pay-at-the-table system at all its corporately owned eateries in the US.

The tech is expected to cut wait times while increasing the efficiency of the restaurant’s staff.

First Watch operates 520 restaurants in 29 US states.