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Exclusive: Restaurantware has taste for acquisitions

Recycling symbol made of plastic utensils

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Restaurantware, a maker of eco-friendly restaurant supplies, plans to make acquisitions, its CEO Jamil Bouchareb tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: The company believes strategic acquisitions can complement its organic growth.

Zoom in: "I would look for anybody with interesting IP in our business that we can incorporate," Bouchareb says.

  • The company would also consider buying struggling brands, he says.
  • Plus, anything technological that might make sense, given it developed an AI-focused search platform for its products.

Yes, but: While it's part of Restaurantware's strategic plan to seek out acquisitions, it still plans to grow primarily via organic growth, he says.

By the numbers: Revenue, which is split evenly between DTC and B2B, is between $50 million and $200 million, Bouchareb says, declining to comment more specifically.

  • The company, which has been profitable from the beginning, has a CAGR of 22% for the last five years, he says.
  • More specifically, sales of its palm leaf tableware have grown 245%, while its pulp safe items have grown 343% and its PLA tableware has grown 98%, each over the last two years.

What we're watching: How they'll finance the growth. Restaurantware could consider a number of financing options such as raising debt or equity, Bouchareb says.

  • "As long as we have great investments to make, and we're beyond our cash capability," he says.
  • It could also consider a strategic relationship to own or grow the business.

Caveat: "My vision for Restaurantware is to continue privately scaling the company in line with the incredible traction we've achieved to date," Bouchareb cautions.

The big picture: Increasing government regulations are putting pressure on the food service industry to reduce single-use plastic.

What's next: Products made from bamboo paper with lined with PLA, which is biodegradable, will be launched under the company's Sustain line in May.

  • Straws made from PHA, a marine degradable polymer that is becoming the standard the industry is seeking out now, will be available in early June.
  • It is also building its first plant in the U.S. in California, which will focus on printing highly embellished custom wine labels for wineries in that region.
  • It will end up investing between $6 million and $10 million of its own money in the project.
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