Danny Meyer is already a wealthy man. The founder of Union Square Hospitality Group has owned more than a dozen acclaimed restaurants, including the iconic Union Square Café, and his foodie empire includes books, consulting, events and other services.
But the man who made a fortune from his richly comforting oxtail risottos and chestnut-bread puddings may make an even bigger fortune from burgers and fries.
According to regulatory filings, Meyer owns 7,440,822 shares of Class B stock of Shake Shack, the burger chain he founded in 2004 that's spreading like wildfire and is expected to go public this week. The filing states that the IPO would value Shake Shack at around $674.5 million, at a share price of $17 to $19 a share.
At those valuations, Meyer's shares—which represent 21 percent of the company—would be worth $127 million to $141 million. And the stock is likely to pop much higher once it opens.
Shake Shack declined to comment on the IPO or Meyer's wealth. Yet Meyer's potential windfall, setting aside his existing wealth, instantly makes him one of the richest restaurateurs in the country.
Meyer has said little about wealth or money as his motivator. As he told The New York Times in 2011, "My favorite thing is watching people enjoy our food. I get sort of an insane amount of pleasure out of that."
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That pleasure may be even sweeter, however, after the IPO.
Some of the other investors in line to make millions from the Shake Shack IPO include Green Equity Investors, which holds 26 percent of the common stock, valued at more than $170 million, and Jeff Flug, president of Union Hospitality, who holds 4.9 percent of the company that could be worth more than $30 million.