Award-winning breakfast, brunch, and lunch restaurant First Watch announced that it has entered into an exclusive franchise development agreement with Mac Haik Enterprises to develop up to 18 restaurants in Southeastern Texas and Southwestern Louisiana. Haik was formerly The Egg & I’s largest franchisee before selling his 30 franchisee restaurant entities and his major position in the 114-franchisor restaurant entity to First Watch upon its acquisition of The Egg & I in May 2015. Now, the former wide receiver for the Houston Oilers and founder of Houston-based Mac Haik Enterprises, which operates successful companies in diverse industries including automobile dealerships, construction, healthcare, hotels, and Class “A” office building/retail development, as well as outdoor media advertising, is turning his focus to being a part of First Watch’s successful growth. His return to the growing daytime café segment comes as the owner/operator of First Watch restaurants in the blooming markets of Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with the first restaurant slated to open in College Station in mid-2016.

“I had the opportunity to get to know Ken and his team at First Watch during the transaction, and as I learned more about the First Watch concept, it reignited my passion to be in the daytime café business. I’m happy to be doing it with the segment leader,” Haik says. “We’ve always believed that business is about the people. It’s rare to find a company that, while maintaining substantial growth and relevancy, is able to preserve a company culture that embraces not only its employees and customers, but also its franchisees and external stakeholders. This is an opportunity to work with an organization whose leadership upholds values that strongly align with ours, and it couldn’t be a better fit.” 

“We are fortunate that as we continue to grow in new and existing markets, we have the opportunity to work with someone as successful and dedicated as Mac Haik,” says Ken Pendery, CEO of First Watch. “Mac has had a home in Houston for decades. He loves the area, the people, the culture, and we have the utmost faith in his organization to show the region what First Watch is all about.”

Haik’s restaurants will feature First Watch’s new restaurant design and revamped menu, which uses farm fresh ingredients to create and offer both innovative and traditional breakfast, brunch, and lunch dishes. It includes items such as Avocado Toast, Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict, Farm Stand Breakfast Tacos, and Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. The restaurants will offer healthy, flavorful favorites like house-made granola and pico de gallo, organic greens, house-roasted vegetables, cage-free eggs, and 100 percent fresh-squeezed orange juice as well as options from its Fresh Juice Bar, juiced in-house daily from fresh fruits and vegetables sourced locally whenever possible. 

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