Keke’s Breakfast Cafe cofounder Kevin Mahen thinks he and brother and cofounder Keith have found the secret to full-service restaurant success: fresh-made food served quickly in a daytime setting.
The nearly 50 Florida restaurants—all around 5,000 or so square feet—will open at 7 a.m., turn the tables seven to eight times, and close up shop by 2:30 p.m., with all workers on their way home by 4 p.m. “The thing that you hear from everybody else in the hospitality business is that they’re getting burned out, and we don't have that in our operation,” Kevin Mahen says.
For a restaurant open less than 60 hours a week, Keke’s is very profitable, and boasts a $13.50 average check. That’s high for the breakfast business, where most competitors do around $9.25 per check, Mahen says. It’s not uncommon, he adds, for a Keke’s restaurant to serve 700–800 people a day.
“You could get a meal and get out of there in 40 minutes without feeling rushed, because our objective is to have a meal sitting in front of you in anywhere between six and 10 minutes,” Mahen says. “We accomplish that goal even on the busiest days.”
And the great thing about the early daypart, Mahen adds, is the quality of workers the brand is able to attract: mature people seeking a manageable work schedule.