CMC Capital leads $124m Series E round for Chinese restaurant chain operator Hefu-Noodle

Chinese noodle restaurant chain operator Hefu-Noodle has secured nearly 800 million yuan (about $123.5 million) in a Series E round of financing led by CMC Capital Partners, a private equity (PE) firm founded by Chinese media mogul Li Ruigang.

Hefu-Noodle roped in ZWC Partners, a dual-currency fund platform that invests in China and Southeast Asia, as the firm’s new investor. Existing shareholders Longfor Capital, and Chinese technology giant Tencent’s investment arm re-upped in the Series E round.

The new round came after Hefu-Noodle closed 450 million yuan in a Series D round in November 2020. The previous deal was backed by Tencent, Longfor Capital and Meridian Capital, a media and entertainment-focused investment company.

Hefu-Noodle, which features authentic Chinese-style noodles and traditional study room-like décor, started operations in 2013 and has grown into a nationwide network consisting of over 340 restaurants by the end of June 2021.

In a statement on Thursday, the firm said that it targets to further boost the number of restaurants to 450 by the end of this year by opening a new store every two days. It claimed to serve over 50 million customers per year.

Although China’s catering industry took a hit at the prime time of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, Hefu-Noodle said that the average revenue of its restaurant has fully recovered to the pre-virus level in the second half of last year. Specifically, it recorded an average monthly revenue of 550,000 yuan ($84,931.6) per store and 45 yuan (close to $7) in sales per customer.

“China’s catering market has great development potential given its massive market scale, yet a low penetration rate of restaurant chains,” Alex Chen, partner and chief investment officer at CMC Capital Partners, said in the statement.

“With the continued increase of shopping malls, improvement of supply chain infrastructures, and enhancement of digital store operations in China, we believe the external conditions for nurturing new-generation catering chain giants have matured,” said Chen.

Upon the completion of the new round, Hefu-Noodle plans to use the proceeds to enhance its strengths along the whole restaurant industry chain, develop new brands, improve its supply chain, and invest in digital operations, among others.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.