Amid the many breakfast players, the chain has certain bragging rights on the culinary front. 

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Big Bad Breakfast

Birmingham, Alabama

Units: 8

Founded: 2008

Amid the many breakfast players, Big Bad Breakfast has certain bragging rights on the culinary front. Inspired by the diners and old-fashioned pharmacies of his childhood, James Beard Award–winning chef John Currence opened the first restaurant in 2008 with a menu of classic breakfast fare, featuring his own twist on dishes without the use of preservatives or artificial ingredients.

While growth has been hitherto moderate compared to other up-and-coming brands, Big Bad Breakfast is aiming to enter a new stage of expansion with the goal of opening three to five restaurants this year. For now, it’s concentrating these efforts on its homebase region: the South. Breakfast and brunch are hot dining occasions, and Big Bad Breakfast is betting on that popularity plus its own prowess to take it far.

“I seem to be reading a lot on the breakfast segment and how it’s starting to grow more than it ever has. The majority of breakfast-only companies probably do well over 50 percent of their revenues on the weekends alone. Everybody has their favorite breakfast spot,” says CEO Travis Grappo. “I’m very bullish on the breakfast daypart.”


During the pandemic, Big Bad Breakfast established a to-go system, which helped it recuperate some lost revenues from dine-in business. Off-premises breakfast orders went from 10 percent of total sales to more than 30 percent. Grappo credits loyal customers for the brand’s ability to overcome the hardships of last year and remain optimistic in its future prospects.

Although Big Bad Breakfast is ramping up growth, the brand has no intention of opening new locations just for the sake of expansion.

“We are trying to do it organically and not just throw darts at the board every day and go, ‘Where can we go next?’ We want to do it the right way,” Grappo says.

Feature, NextGen Casual