Fox and friends
North Italia, a full-service Italian concept, has 21 locations in 10 states and D.C. Each unit pulls in about $7 million annually. Moving forward, The Cheesecake Factory will run the brand from its California headquarters and already has expansion in mind.
“North Italia has a clear growth pattern and will grow about 20 percent a year. Next year we’ll do six more stores and then build on that,” Fox says. The growth will be in both the number of locations and its geographic footprint; The Cheesecake Factory sees the potential for 200 domestic units.
At 24 locations, Flower Child is the second-largest FRC brand and will remain under Fox’s purview. The concept can best be described as a fast-casual iteration of True Food Kitchen—the full-service restaurant Fox developed with holistic wellness guru Dr. Andrew Weil. Given the demand for healthier, plant-forward fare and the boom in fast casual, Fox will focus his attention, at least initially, on growing Flower Child. Like North Italia, he thinks it can expand about 20 percent annually—for an estimated four to five locations this calendar year.
“I’m excited about [being able to] grow and innovate Flower Child. Culinary Dropout is also going to go on a bit of a growth pattern with three new units in the near future,” Fox says.
He’s also scouting new real estate for The Henry—a classic American restaurant and bar that harkens back to the Gatsby era—as well as a seventh location of Blanco Tacos & Tequila, which is slated to open in Denver later this year. Furthermore, the restaurant group is busy at work on a second location for Doughbird. “We have so many irons in the fire that we’re always busy,” Fox says.
Such ambitious growth will come more easily to FRC now that it has an injection of capital, not to mention long-term backing. “We’ll have more growth capital, more strategic planning for the brands in the portfolio,” Fox says. “We’ll grow the existing brands, and I think you’ll see something else out of us,” though he offered up no clues as to what a new concept might look like.
The combined company, according to statements by The Cheesecake Factory, is expected to gross almost $3 billion in 2020 with an expected revenue growth of more than 8 percent.