First Watch, the Bradenton, Florida-based Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch restaurant company, has signed a franchisee agreement with Holland Rosen Group to expand into the Lexington and Louisville markets. The first restaurant location is expected to open in Lexington in early 2012.

The franchised First Watch locations will be operated by the Holland Rosen Group as part of a multi-unit franchise agreement to open a total of eight restaurants throughout Lexington and Louisville over the next five years. Each restaurant will employ approximately 25 people.

Business partners Gary Holland and Ron Rosen, founders of Holland Rosen Group are currently the largest franchisees of Skyline Chili with 12 restaurants in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, as well as three La Rosa’s Pizza restaurants.

“We are excited about taking this wonderful restaurant concept to Lexington and Louisville, and our friends who eat at First Watch in Northern Kentucky are thrilled that we are coming to their town,” says Gary Holland of Holland Rosen Group.

“Our restaurant group has been fortunate to partner with top notch franchisors and First Watch is no exception. We are thoroughly impressed with the operations team, and the integrity of founder Ken Pendery and his executive team.”

First Watch specializes in the creation of traditional favorites such as pancakes, omelets, salads, and sandwiches, as well as signature items including the Chickichanga, Healthy Turkey Omelet and Fresh Fruit Crepes. All menu items are freshly prepared to order, and the restaurant does not use microwaves, deep fryers or heat lamps.

“First Watch is in the midst of tremendous growth and we are excited to introduce our concept to new markets like Lexington and Louisville,” says Chris Tomasso, Chief Marketing Officer for First Watch.

“Gary and Ron are experienced multi-unit operators with a successful track record and we look forward to partnering with them.”

First Watch has received more than 200 “Best Of” accolades in markets across the country. All First Watch restaurants are open daily from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Of its more than 90 existing First Watch restaurants in 13 states, six are franchised and four are licensed and future growth is expected to come from key multi-unit, regional franchises to experienced restaurateurs in new markets in 35 states throughout the continental U.S. First Watch recently opened new restaurants in Oklahoma City, Nashville and Milwaukee.

Industry News, NextGen Casual, First Watch