Eggs Up will enter two new states—Tennessee and Florida—in 2019. The expansion into new markets is exciting, Richardson says, but the company hasn’t forgotten about its core presence. About 75 percent of future openings will occur in markets where Eggs Up already has a presence.
Large Southern cities aren’t the focus of growth, Richardson says. Instead, the company’s sweet spot is markets where the population is around 100,000 people. Some of these include Charleston, Greenville, and Spartanburg, South Carolina.
“Our capabilities of providing great support for our franchisees and the focus is on the Southeast,” Richardson says. “National growth is not what we’re looking for right now. It’s in the Southeastern markets that we know well where we can see what our franchise partners know and leverage the brand awareness that’s already in place.”
It’s easier to capture the attention of new customers in cities of that size while maintaining a strong connection to the community. Development costs make more sense, too.
Richardson says breakfast concepts are experiencing elevated competition from new brands and other chains looking to expand, like Eggs Up. While the threat of sharing a market without another breakfast spot could stress out a company, Richardson says, it doesn’t deter his company.
Unlike other major breakfast restaurants, Richardson feels Eggs Up still has a mom-and-pop neighborhood feel. One of the company’s mottos is “Neighbors serving neighbors.” Many franchisees join the company after dining at the restaurant with little to no experience in the industry. The connection between the operator and the community allows the restaurant to capitalize on those relationships, Richardson says.
“There are big benefits from having the brand connection,” Richardson says. “That personal connection makes a huge difference. It builds on that credibility that a brand affinity has and makes it more personal and more authentic to those communities.”
In order to help support its franchisees, Richardson says, the company has heavily invested in technology, real estate, and training programs over the past year. These investments will help put Eggs Up in a good place so it’s able to support the brand as it grows over the next few years.