(Bloomberg) -- Tropical Smoothie Cafe LLC, an Atlanta-based restaurant chain, is planning a U.S. initial public offering this year, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Backed by private equity firm Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, Tropical Smoothie could be valued at at least $1 billion in a listing, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information. The company is working with Morgan Stanley and Jefferies Financial Group Inc. on the IPO, the people said.

Tropical Smoothie’s plans including the timing of a listing could change, the people said.

Representatives for Tropical Smoothie and Los Angeles-based Levine Leichtman Capital declined to comment. Representatives for Morgan Stanley and Jefferies also declined to comment.

Fast-food restaurants that listed in the past year including Dutch Bros Inc. and Portillo’s Inc. have outperformed the general market, with their shares up 81% and 36% since their respective debuts. Companies that went public on U.S. exchanges in 2021 have lost 10% of their value on a weighted average basis, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Levin Leichtman Capital acquired Tropical Smoothie in 2020, according to a statement at the time. Terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed. 

Founded in 1997, the chain operates more than 1,040 locations in the U.S., according to a statement. It reported a 22% same-store sales growth in 2021 on a year-on-year basis, it said in the statement.  

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