Shake Shack founder and leader of the no-tipping movement in America, restaurateur Danny Meyer has made a “substantial” investment in the Portland-based ice cream chain Salt and Straw, according to the O. An exact dollar amount hasn’t been released, but Salt and Straw CEO Kim Malek confirms she and ice cream maker (and cousin) Tyler Malek retain majority ownership.
Perhaps America’s most famous restaurateur, Meyer and his Union Square Hospitality Group are clearly poised for expansion, eyeing up-and-coming franchises molded after his company’s vision. Union Square Hospitality Group invested in California’s Tender Greens in 2015 and New York’s Joe Coffee in January 2017.
What does it mean for Salt and Straw? Malek told the O the ice cream franchise will continue to work on the previously announced Seattle shop and second San Francisco location, but it’s difficult to ignore the potential for expanding to other cities — here’s looking at you, New York — considering the company already has five Los Angeles and three Portland locations, plus the soft-serve shop Wiz Bang Bar in downtown Portland.
The biggest updates following the investment news are Salt and Straw’s plans to hire better-trained staff and construct top-of-the-line ice cream production facilities in Portland and San Francisco. The Portland kitchen will be 15,000 square feet, but in order to retain its small-production approach, Tyler Malek told the O he’ll continue to use three-, five-, and 10-gallon ice cream machines to make the entirety of Salt and Straw’s flavors.
- Salt and Straw [Official]
- Union Square Hospitality Group [Official]
- Salt & Straw accepts substantial investment from New York restaurant group [Oregonian]
- All Previous Salt and Straw Coverage [EPDX]