Long Haul: Savory Fund


1557 W Innovation Way Suite 150, Lehi  • (801) 642-3800 • savory.mercatopartners.com

   Andrew and Shauna Smith, alongside Greg Warnock, are the dream team behind the Savory Fund, a $100M private equity fund with notable brands including Mo’Bettahs, R&R Barbeque, The Crack Shack, Via 313 and Swig — with more brands on the horizon. When Andrew and Shauna started their culinary venture in 2008, they didn’t foresee all of the success, awards, accolades and growth percentages they’ve experienced in the past 12 years.

    Lucky for the Smiths, they had each other from the start, in addition to their successful backgrounds in tech, finance and business. The initial restaurant to grow under their first food and beverage venture, Four Foods Group, was Kneaders Bakery & Cafe, which was already a popular eatery in Utah County. The Smiths realized the enormous potential outside the county line and added 50 locations in seven states over nine years. In the summer of 2018, the Smiths sold their Kneaders and Little Caesars restaurants. Then the Smiths partnered with longtime friend and PE veteran, Greg Warnock, when he approached them to create a food-focused fund with Mercato Partners, a firm he founded in 2007. Today, with five portfolio brands and restaurants in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Texas, the Savory team is poised to be the food and beverage powerhouse in the western United States.

   When they decide to add another brand to their portfolio, they prefer to have the founders of each brand continue on the journey with them — where they now have resources to help magnify their culinary vision. Job creation and entrepreneurship has also been a goal from the beginning.    
   “Entrepreneurship is the greatest form of job creation,” Andrew says. “And we feel it is our duty to continue to create jobs and opportunity for those who have helped us get to this point.”

   A couple years ago, Andrew and Shauna reached a huge milestone when they hit $1.2 billion in sales as a company. This reminded them that as a team, they can accomplish the impossible — no matter the digits. Since then, they have continued to grow and reach their moonshots to include multiple brands with hundreds of locations in multiple states. One billion was just the starting line, and the company has now grown considerably. Their next goal: $3 billion and 20,000 jobs created!

   Andrew is often asked for his “secret recipe” for growing a restaurant business, even as the economy goes up and down.

   Andrew answers, “Secret? There’s no secret. We are just hard-working F&B veterans doing what we love — Sharing love through food, because FOOD is LOVE.”

Taste and No Time to Waste

Andrew looks toward the future with optimism. “Even though the market has gone through a great deal of challenges this year, it’s also an opportune time for the Savory Fund to help a lot of brands make their mark. And we will!”

Greg Bennett

Greg Bennett is an editor and writer with Bennett Communications. His primary responsibilities are with Utah Valley Magazine and the company's custom publications division. He's the father of four children and has been married to his wife, Adria, for 19 years. Contact Greg at greg.utahvalley360@gmail.com.

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