Driven by a new store model and revamped operations, Huddle House enjoyed its most impressive growth spurt in 15 years, the company announced Wednesday.
In fiscal 2017, the iconic chain, which was founded 52 years ago, signed 36 new franchise agreements to open new locations across the country, and entered new markets across 14 states. Huddle House finished the fiscal year with 401 stores open or in development, including its first restaurant in Maryland and additional growth in New Jersey—an area that has one unit open and five in development.
“The past year has been an incredible milestone for Huddle House,” says Christina Chambers, senior vice president of franchise development at Huddle House, in a statement. “We’ve proven ourselves to be a winning concept on several levels—for our guests, the communities we serve and our franchise partners. This was a record-breaking year for our brand and we look forward to continuing that pace in the year to come as we welcome more entrepreneurs and communities into the Huddle House family.”
Huddle House says a third of the 36 new franchise agreements were signed by current franchise partners. Part of this is a belief in the all-day breakfast concept’s established history. Another factor, Huddle House says, can be credited to the chain’s recent changes.
Huddle House opened a new real estate department with full site selection support. It also updated its store design. The in-house supply distribution model “that supports favorable unit-level economics for each of the locations,” which has been in place for nearly three decades, continues to bolster growth.
In this growth, eight multi-unit operators signed additional agreements to open 22 more locations, Huddle House adds.
“The growth achieved this year has allowed us to further expand our franchise opportunity into new markets in the Northeast and Midwest and continue to build on our legacy Southeastern footprint,” Chambers says in the statement. “We’re eager to keep up the momentum and create more opportunities for both current and new franchise partners, including incentives for store redesigns and multi-unit investment.”
Huddle House’s “Evolution” redesign is outperforming the previous store design by 31.5 percent in sales, the company says. Fifty-three percent of the system is currently remodeled, and 63 percent should be completed by the end of the year.
The new design features a new building prototype, LED lighting, updated menu offerings, and contemporary furniture.
Huddle House says it is still seeking out qualified single-unit and multi-unit operators across a range of markets, including travel centers and convenience sties.