A company representative declined to comment, but the Wall Street Journal reported that it is targeting a valuation of $2.5 billion to $3 billion. In 2014, private equity firm Berkshire Partners reportedly paid $1 billion for a strategic investment in the restaurant chain.
Portillo’s has been expanding in recent years. It opened new stores last year in the Chicago area—including one in Avondale that was drive-thru, curbside and delivery only when it opened last fall, and a Portillo’s Pick Up location planned for Joliet that will not have a dining room—and is targeting other states.
The chain’s 2020 revenue was about $450 million, down 4.3 percent from 2019, according to Crain’s list of privately held companies. Portillo’s drive-thru and delivery options were likely a saving grace during the pandemic.
Restaurants were ravaged by COVID-19 closures, and in Illinois, many are still working to recover from the more than five nonconsecutive months indoor dining was banned. But drive-thrus dominated, and quick-service chains were hurt the least out of all restaurant categories, according to data from market research firm Technomic. Sales slid only 1.2 percent at quick-service chains in 2020, compared to a 39.2 percent drop at fine dining establishments. Overall, the top 500 chains saw sales growth sink 8.2 percent, according to the data.
Portillo’s opened its first hot dog stand in 1963, when Dick Portillo invested $1,100 into a small trailer in Villa Park. It has grown to a fast-casual chain with more than 60 locations in several states. In 2020, the company employed 6,500 employees company wide, about 5,550 of whom were local.