SEATTLE — (BUSINESS WIRE) — Organic To Go, the nation’s first fast-casual café to be certified as an organic retailer, ended 2006 with $10 million in sales. On tap for early 2007 are new retail, corporate and university locations in Southern California and Washington state.
“Our rate of growth has been amazing,” said Jason Brown, chief executive officer and founder of Organic To Go, which finished the year with 11 retail stores and 10 wholesale locations at office buildings, universities, hospitals and airports in Southern California and western Washington. Organic To Go saw dramatically increased sales for the fourth quarter of 2006 compared to the same quarter of 2005. Same-store retail sales were up 17 percent, delivery and casual catering were up 226 percent and wholesale sales increased by 67 percent.
In January 2007, Organic To Go food will be available at 13 new locations, including L.A.’s Century City, Cal State Northridge and the Jet Propulsion Labs in Pasadena, Calif.
With Organic To Go, Brown has tapped into two of the fastest-growing trends in the restaurant business: takeout food and organic products.
The American Dietetic Association reports that 67 percent of American workers eat lunch at their desks. From solo lunches in biodegradable bags to corporate events for hundreds, Organic To Go understands the needs of the time-pressured office eater who longs for healthy, fast food options.
National Food Service Advisors predicts “huge growth in organics” in the restaurant business for 2007, as customers demand better nutrition and safer food. Organics are already hot items at the grocery store, and Americans are expected to eat more than $16 billion in organic food this year. The Hartman Group found that three-quarters of the American public buy organic products on occasion, and 23 percent buy organic weekly. But until now organic food service has remained largely untapped, Brown said.
Highlights of 2006 for Organic To Go include:
– Acquired Vinaigrettes Full Spectrum Catering, a Los Angeles company with annual sales of approximately $2.5 million.
– Completed the month of December with a record $1,050,000 in revenue.
– Closed in December on $5.6 million of convertible bridge financing, raised from private equity investors.
– Became the first fast-casual restaurant and retailer to be certified organic in February 2006.
– Total investment in Organic To Go is $15.45 million since November 2004.
About Organic To Go
Based in Seattle, Wash., Organic To Go is the nation’s first fast-casual café to be certified as an organic retailer. O To Go’s mission is to become the leading branded provider of certified organic and natural soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees and other food products to corporate, university and other institutional customers in selected urban areas nationwide. For more information, visit www.organictogo.com.