Building upon its impressive 33-year history, First Watch Restaurants, Inc. announced that 2016 was a standout year for the company. CEO Ken Pendery and President Chris Tomasso shared highlights from the year with attendees at the 2017 ICR Conference held in Orlando, Florida on January 9.
“First Watch has never been stronger or more relevant,” says Pendery. “Through our innovation efforts in the areas of menu and atmosphere, we fortified our core brand equity, further differentiated our concept and evolved in a way that is resonating with today’s consumer. We strengthened our already segment-leading position, further widening the gap between us and our competitors.”
During 2016, First Watch achieved:
Positive comparable restaurant traffic and sales, marking the company’s 32nd year of positive comparable restaurant sales growth.
Record average unit volumes (AUVs), which have increased 22 percent during the past five years,
Twenty-one new restaurants opened during the year, including 15 new company-owned locations and six franchised locations in existing markets and new markets, such as Dallas, Houston and Philadelphia.
Ten new partnerships with experienced, multi-unit franchise operators representing commitments for more than 100 new restaurants that will bring additional First Watch locations to new markets in Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.
Successful conversion of 19 The Good Egg restaurants in Arizona and 18 The Egg & I restaurants in Dallas, Nashville and Birmingham to First Watch. These brands were acquired by First Watch in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
In addition, First Watch continued a system-wide rollout of its “Urban Farm” brand platform. “Urban Farm” features a curated menu that takes an elevated approach to traditional and innovative offerings made to order using farm fresh ingredients in such crave-able items as Avocado Toast, Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict, Farm Stand Breakfast Tacos and Lemon Ricotta
Pancakes. This menu complements the company’s new “Urban Farm” interior design, which combines farm fresh elements with a high-energy, urban vibe featuring a modern and welcoming mix of reclaimed woods and metals. First Watch opened all of its new restaurants in 2016 under this successful design platform, which has been enthusiastically received by the consumer.
“As we look toward 2017 and beyond, we feel confident in our positioning and believe we have taken the necessary steps to build a solid foundation to maintain – and even accelerate—our positive momentum ensuring sustained growth and expansion,” says Pendery.
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