Toasted Yolk restaurants are typically 4,200-4,800 square feet, with most of the system housed in endcaps that have generous patio space. Milton describes the brand as a destination breakfast place, meaning “we're not the cheapest game in town and don't intend to be.” To that end, restaurants are based in affluent areas that have good daytime traffic and a solid mix between residential and business.
Fellow breakfast chains like Perkins and IHOP are opting for smaller boxes to cut costs and improve efficiency, and Toasted Yolk will look to do the same in some areas. However, he is wary of the process; kitchens have to be a certain size, or else it will interfere with operations. He thinks the brand is capable of shaving 200 or so square feet, but nothing beyond that.
Of the chain’s 19 restaurants, 13 are franchised and six are company-owned. There are plans to develop another corporate market other than Houston, but that spot has yet to be determined.
“Through all this franchise growth, we kind of had to retool our system and make sure that we could offer the support that we promised, and so I think we've been able to do that,” Milton says.
The breakfast CEO says franchisees are attracted to Toasted Yolk’s family atmosphere in which operators know they are “more than just a number” and the brand isn’t “trying to grow as fast as we can.”
The 7 a.m.-3 p.m. operating hours also provides a desirable work/life balance. While labor struggles are industrywide, Toasted Yolk isn’t really feeling the pinch, Milton says.
“There's something to be said to have your day finished by 3 o'clock in the afternoon and be able to come home and eat dinner with your family and have your day be finished,” Milton says. " … If you want to work in full-service restaurants, you're coming to us first. I think that's been the biggest selling point for our system and people in our segment is that we're not feeling a lot of the crunch that the dinner houses and some of these other places are. Our restaurants are fully staffed and people are excited to come to work.”
Because of inflationary pressures, Toasted Yolk has raised prices, but Milton says the brand is doing its best to keep those hikes as minimal as possible.
He believes the biggest opportunity is with supply chain, where the company is combatting product and equipment shortages. To ensure the brand’s growth strategy remain on track, the chain pre-purchased equipment for six restaurants to avoid similar situations faced in 2021—anything to keep the ball rolling in what could be a banner year for the company.
“We're super excited about 2022,” Milton says. “I think we came through the pandemic, which was probably one of the worst things that a restaurant could get through, and I think our team came through extremely well. So as we look forward to the rest of this year, I think we could become a real leader in our segment.”