There’s no better story than one of perseverance, and 26-unit Famous Toastery is telling a tale stronger than ever after, as it made it through the pandemic without sacrificing quality, and now has plans for more growth than ever. The better breakfast, brunch and lunch brand is poised to grow out of its headquarters market of Charlotte, closing out the Carolinas and further expanding into Virginia and Tennessee.
Facing the challenges of the pandemic, the franchise sustained its scratch-kitchen model and opened new three locations in 2020, as well as the brand’s first ghost kitchen, which is based out of Warrington, Virginia. It’s a testament to the value and continued growth that Famous Toastery has ahead that even individuals on the corporate team have chosen to purchase the franchise — its CFO Adam Gordon owns two locations and the executive chef Julio Heras owns two locations, as well. In addition, multiple franchisees have reinvested in the brand amid COVID-19.
CEO and founder Robert Maynard knows Famous Toastery and several other businesses faced multiple challenges — from labor shortages to location closings — in the past year and a half. Some of the adjustments needed during this pressing time included paper menus (and eventually QR codes), contactless payment and limited menu items. The most important advancement was the launch of an online ordering platform, which was rolled out in four days.
Maynard addressed this head on, saying, “I’m looking at that as a positive thing now — not negative. A lot of people and brands go through this. It’s not about what happened. It’s how you move the brand forward. Own your wins and own your failures.”
The quality of the food at Famous Toastery continues to impress, with the brand serving breakfast, brunch and lunch goers with menu delights including fresh-squeezed orange juice, the Avocado Omelet, the Famous Hash, the Beyond Meat Quesadilla and so much more.
Maynard’s strategy for Famous Toastery has always been to focus on the franchisees and the customers, and he wants to emphasize how he can elevate that growth model for the individuals investing with Famous Toastery. An aspect Maynard emphasized in particular was the brand’s movement to focus on franchising, rather than growing by adding corporate locations.
“We are focusing on opening new locations with franchise partners rather than growing corporately,” he says. “We want everyone to have a profit and to figure out their goals and how to hit their goals. We didn’t have that before, and our role in the corporate office is to help support our franchisees to achieve those goals.”
Maynard knows that this brand “has legs” and that casual dining is going to be a staple of the American household for years to come. In a world where everyone is trying to connect amid the pandemic, this is the spot to have fresh food in a low-stress atmosphere. And for potential franchisees with a food and beverage, franchise and/or business background, Famous Toastery offers a proven track record of success, a proven business model, strong support infrastructure and the opportunity for an attractive work-life balance.
With a marketing plan to saturate the Carolinas, Virginia and Tennessee, Maynard’s vision is to sell eight to 10 deals in 2022 and to feasibly open four to five restaurants next year. Looking long-term into 2024, the brand is aiming to have 50 locations open.
North Carolina’s market will come first, as “a lot of people know us here,” Maynard explained. The rollout strategy is to first target Charlotte, then the Triangle, then the mountains and then any other areas of possibility.
Maynard stressed the importance of relaunching in a local market, as it will solidify brand recognition and get the word out that Famous Toastery is franchising. He plans to play an active role in the openings and hold events to familiarize people with the brand’s mission and growth strategy.
Maynard expects this organic approach to attract a diverse group of potential franchisees who bring an entrepreneurial spirit to the brand. And this is one of the most exciting parts for Maynard.
“Finding the right person is really exciting, and giving them the right tools is exciting, but we’re going to be patient and grow in a smart way with the right partners,” he says, as he looks toward expanding the franchise system.