Investors are riding high on chain restaurants: The California-based Habit Restaurants, Inc., whose Habit Burger Grill has more than 100 locations nationwide, shattered expectations on its first day of public trading today. Nation's Restaurant News reports that despite an IPO of $18 per share — as much as $4 more than anticipated — the burger chain raised $90 million on its opening day, closing at a price of $39.54 per share. According to NRN, the chain, best known for its "Charburger," plans to expand into Washington, DC and Florida in 2015. Later, it'll open its first franchised restaurants in Las Vegas and on the West Coast.
NRN points out that Habit's blockbuster opening day follows a recent trend, with both Potbelly Sandwich Shop and Noodles & Co. experiencing huge market debuts. In recent months, Dave & Buster's and El Pollo Loco also became publicly traded companies, and rumors persist that Danny Meyer's beloved burger chain Shake Shack might also be considering an IPO, to the tune of a $1 billion valuation. Of course, all of these publicly traded chains are chasing the success of Chipotle Mexican Grill's success: When the company made its IPO in 2006, it became "the biggest opening-day gainer in a U.S.-based deal in five years," closing at $44 per share from its $22 IPO. Its current stock price is a whopping $662 per share.