Portillo’s announces plans to go public

Morningstar Equity Analyst Sean Dunlop said there is strong investor demand to buy shares of restaurant chains.

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The Portillo’s Hot Dogs located at 7308 W. Lawrence Ave.

Portillo’s Hot Dogs has filed paperwork to sell shares to the public.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times file

Portillo’s, known for its hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches, wants to sell shares of stock to the public, too.

The Oak Brook-based restaurant chain, owned by private-equity firm Berkshire Partners LLC, said Monday it has confidentially submitted a registration statement with the Security and Exchange Commission. No date has been announced for the initial stock offering.

The company didn’t reveal the number of shares it will be offering or the price range, although the Wall Street Journal reported Portillo’s is targeting a valuation between $2.5 billion and $3 billion.

Portillo’s declined to comment.

Morningstar Equity Analyst Sean Dunlop said there is strong investor demand to buy shares of restaurant chains. Krispy Kreme recently went public, and Sweetgreen, Dutch Bros and Torchy’s Tacos have announced plans to go public.

“In the case of Portillo’s, this is an opportunity for investors to get access to capital at an attractive valuation,” Dunlop said. “Over the last handful of years, we have seen price-earnings multiples continue to creep up in the sector as we have seen this broader shift towards franchising.”

Berkshire Partners will likely keep a large stake in Portillo’s, Dunlop said.

Portillo’s was founded in 1963 by Dick Portillo, who sold hot dogs from a stand in Villa Park. Portillo sold the company to Berkshire Partners for nearly $1 billion in 2014.

Since then, Portillo’s has grown to about 50 restaurants across Illinois, with others in Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The company this month announced plans to open its first outlet without a dining room. The pickup-and-delivery location in Joliet will have a three-lane drive-thru.

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