Private equity firm boosts Tin Drum Asiacafe's growth


Atlanta-based private equity firm BIP Opportunities Fund has announced that it will take a minority interest in Tin Drum Asiacafe, a fast-casual, Pan-Asian restaurant concept.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Of course, it’s about growth,” said Steven Chan, chief executive officer for the Atlanta-based concept, noting that Tin Drum will speed up growth during the first quarter of next year as a result of BIP's investment.

As of publication, Tin Drum has nine locations in Georgia and one in Alabama, with an eleventh location opening in Atlanta on Sept. 9. Chan said by the end of 2014, he hopes to open 30 more Tin Drum locations throughout the Southeast. North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Alabama are some of the company’s target growth markets, he said.

“It’s very important because there are many projects we’re working on,” he said of BIP’s investment. “It’s going to improve the infrastructure and provide support for the company.” He added that BIP’s interest will provide institutional knowledge that will help grow the Tin Drum brand.

Chan founded Tin Drum Asiacafe in 2003 at the Georgia Institute of Technology and began franchising it in 2011. The chain’s menu is composed of more than 35 items that draw influence from Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Indian and Vietnamese cuisines.

“Our line is the streets of Asia in a bowl. It’s inspired by all kinds of cuisine that you’d see on the streets of Asia,” said Chan, adding that the concept also uses kiosks to allow patrons to customize their meals by dietary restrictions and health needs.

As of now, BIP is the only investment firm that has taken a minority interest in Tin Drum, Chan said.

“I think fast-casual Asian is absolutely ripe for growth opportunities,” said BIP Managing Partner Scott Pressly. “I think Steven has grown the concept with the consumer in mind, but more importantly, he built it for scale.”

In August, BIP purchased a controlling interest in Atlanta-based Tropical Smoothie Café.

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