Ford’s Garage, a budding burger-and-craft-beer franchise that gives the vibe of being in a 1920’s service station, is targeting the Charlotte metro area as part of its next wave of expansion.

The Florida-based chain is looking to bring seven of its vintage garage- and prohibition era-themed restaurants to the area.

“Ford Motor Co. has quite a rich history as one of America’s most important manufacturing companies,” says Steve Shelmon, brand president of Ford’s Garage. “That history also translates to a pretty cool dining experience, as it turns out, and we’re excited to be bringing that experience to Charlotte.”

Founded in 2012 near Henry Ford’s winter home in Fort Myers, Ford’s Garage has a unique licensing agreement with the Ford Motor Co., enabling them to use the company’s iconic blue oval logo and other brand imagery. Model Ts and Model As hang above the bar. Servers sport blue mechanic shirts. Blue shop cloths double as napkins. The bathroom sinks are made from tires and fuel pump nozzles. Even the bars inside the restaurants are decidedly vintage, mixing prohibition-style elements like brick, richly colored woods, and a copper bar top that’s hammered by hand.

Aside from all the nostalgia, Ford’s Garage is a good old fashioned burger and beer joint, too.

Burgers are the main draw, with the finest varieties of meat (and a vegetarian option) coupled with all-natural aged cheeses, fresh toppings and gourmet sauces on artesian buns branded with the Ford logo. The restaurants also specialize in popular American comfort food options like homemade meatloaf, chicken wings and tenders, onion rings, and famous macaroni and cheese. Lighter fare such as fresh salads, grilled chicken, and various seafood option are also available.

The bars highlight 150 types of beer including 40 on draft, with an emphasis on local microbreweries, which vary from one location to another. The restaurants also serve wine, cocktails and nonalcoholic options.

“It’s a very broad market that we attract into Ford’s Garage,” Shlemon says. “It’s not pretentious. It’s come-as-you-are. It’s got a great vibe and energy. The food is fantastic all the way across the board. But you’ve got a very comfortable, inviting environment that’s unique to the casual dining space.”

According to Vice President of Business Development & Franchise Relations Scott Estes, 

Ford’s Garage has proven itself a turnkey operation that will be a popular dining out choice in any neighborhood. “We look forward to welcoming new franchise partners to the family and serving up even more of our burgers nationwide with a side of automotive history,” he says.

Ford’s Garage is currently looking to award development opportunities to those interested in helping to augment the local expansion. Including a franchise fee of $50,000, the total investment to open a Ford’s Garage restaurant ranges from $1,461,800 to $6,353,000. Most of Ford’s Garage’s forthcoming locations will be approximately 8,900 square feet with about 250 seats, and have between 95 and 115 employees.

The announced expansion is part of a broader growth initiative that expects to see the 16-unit chain – all of which are operated by franchisees – open a dozen or so more restaurants nationwide by the end of this year. The company already has development deals in place for 11 of those franchises, including restaurants in New York, Texas, Ohio and Kentucky.

Chain Restaurants, Franchising, Industry News, Ford's Garage