Thirsty Lion already had a solid foundation going into 2020 and was firing on all cylinders. In the space of two months it opened two new units in Phoenix and was in the process of moving its headquarters to Scottsdale, Arizona. It had also just surpassed the $50 million system-wide sales marker, with each location averaging between $5–$7 million annually.
But then, like most restaurants across the country, it was forced to shut down its dining rooms and retool plans. A year later, Thirsty Lion is still the same brand at its core, but with a fresh perspective on its future trajectory and prospects.
“We were on this trajectory of growth to open up 2–3 stores over the next couple of years and really ramp up good, sustainable growth,” says CEO and founder John Plew. “What we had to do was retract completely, wash away 2020 except for the two we opened early on, then rebuild the company.”