Black Bear Diner, an award-winning family dining concept with 68 locations in eight western states, announced that 2015 will be the best unit growth year in franchise history. The concept, which has historically averaged six to eight new restaurants annually, is on track to open 11 new units in 2015, with the anticipation of closing out the year at 79 total operating units. This unit growth trend is expected to continue into 2016 as the company marches towards the goal of 100 operating restaurants by 2018.
“Our growth trajectory continues to trend up and we are humbled by the strong interest we are receiving from franchisees,” says Bruce Dean, co-founder of Black Bear Diner. “Despite Black Bear Diner being 20 years old, we believe the brand is still in its infancy. The potential for steady expansion and growth is great and this year’s robust growth is a clear indication.”
The new restaurants are all based in the western region of the United States—four restaurants in California (Elk Grove, Sunnyvale, Danville, and Oakland), two restaurants in Utah (Orem, West Valley), and one restaurant each in Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The 11th unit opened in Woodland, California in April. Eight of the 11 locations are franchises; three are corporate owned stores. The opening of the restaurants will be sprinkled between Q3 and Q4.
“We are expanding strategically throughout the western states, but still have an eye on becoming more than just a regional chain” says Doug Branigan, vice president of franchise development for Black Bear Diner. “We are looking for the right opportunity to head eastward beyond Colorado and we’re confident it will present itself soon.”
Recognized for serving bear-sized portions of comfort food classics in a bear-themed restaurant, Black Bear Diner is quickly establishing itself as a dominant leader in the family-dining segment. It was ranked by Technomic, a leading research and consulting firm servicing the food and foodservice industry, as the 33rd fastest growing chain, and 9th fastest among full-service restaurants.