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Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer raises $200 million private-equity fund

  • Danny Meyer raised more than $200 million in a fund that will invest in companies that focus on having a strong employee, customer and community culture.
  • Union Square Hospitality said the fund will primarily make minority investments of between $10 million and $20 million.
  • So far, the fund has invested in New York-based Joe Coffee, Portland-based Salt & Straw Ice Cream and New York-based Resy Network, a restaurant booking app.
Danny Meyer
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Danny Meyer

Employee-centric businesses could be the beneficiary of Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer's new private-equity fund, Enlightened Hospitality Investments.

The restaurateur and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group has raised more than $200 million in a fund that will invest in companies that focus on having a strong employee, customer and community culture.

Meyer has long been an employee advocate, going so far as to eliminate tipping at his full-service restaurants last year in favor of compensating staff so they don't need to rely on tips. Meyer has said this makes the restaurant experience better for customers and staff.

"Historically we've had the privilege of investing in some incredibly special companies whose cultures, leaders and innovative business models caught our eyes," Meyer said in a statement Monday. "Enlightened Hospitality Investments allows us to find and fuel growth for best-in-class culture-driven businesses that are on the precipice of doing great things."

Union Square Hospitality said that the fund will primarily make minority investments of between $10 million and $20 million. So far, the fund has invested in New York-based Joe Coffee, Portland-based Salt & Straw Ice Cream and New York-based Resy Network, a restaurant booking app.

Enlightened Hospitality Investments — helmed by Mark Leavitt, chief investment officer for Union Square Hospitality — is evaluating around 200 companies for potential investments, the company said.