Gandhi Expects Shifting Consumer Trends to Spur More Capital Investment


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Brookwood Associates Managing Director Anish Gandhi is a self-described “foodie” who has an avid interest in the product and trends impacting his clientele in the restaurant sector.

Gandhi took a fairly typical path into investment banking. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Emory University in Atlanta where he concentrated in finance and international business. He went on to work on Wall Street where he advised companies across industries on their mergers and acquisitions.

His focus shifted to restaurants when he joined Atlanta-based Brookwood Associates in 2011 and moved back to his hometown. “We are currently seeing fundamental shifts in consumer behavior trends across the restaurant industry leading to more investment in technology and broader delivery channels,” says Gandhi. From a macro perspective, consumers are still spending more dollars eating out. How they spend those dollars is changing with three key factors – convenience, quality and experience – impacting spending patterns, he says. Those drivers are in turn impacting the capital that is flowing into the sector. 

Brookwood Associates provides investment banking solutions to middle-market companies. Gandhi works in the firm’s consumer retail group, which includes restaurants, retail, health and wellness and active living businesses including franchise and non-franchise companies. The firm’s specialty is providing strategic advisory services for mergers and acquisitions, as well as companies that are looking to raise debt or equity for expansion or recapitalization resulting in a minority or majority ownership stake in their business. 

Debt and equity remain abundant for restaurant expansion, and more of that capital is being directed at emerging concepts that are focused on consumer demands today with an eye on where they are headed in the future, notes Gandhi. Heightened competition for deal-making in the restaurant sector also is pushing investors to get involved with concepts at an earlier and earlier stage. 

In addition, investors who feel they have greater expertise in the restaurant sector feel more comfortable taking on the risk of an early stage company that has demonstrated strong unit economics and scalability. “What that has done is create opportunities for concepts to access a variety of capital sources at a faster pace creating a more competitive dynamic for deal making compared to 10 years ago,” he says.  To that point, Brookwood advises on a range of deals that can be as small as $10 million up to over $300 million.

In the current marketplace, Gandhi also cautions clients to recognize capital can either be an igniter or an impediment to the future success of a business. “The key for operators that are looking to secure capital is really looking ahead five-plus years to envision where they want their business to be and ensuring that their capital partner is aligned in achieving the same long-term strategic goals,” he says. 

For more information, contact Anish Gandhi at 404-419-1572 or by email at ag@brookwoodassociates.com.

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