The 37-unit sports bar is a pillar of the community.
Kat Huff routinely refers to the Glory Days Grill location she managed for 10 years as her “baby.” With parent-like dedication, Huff took over the once-struggling Stone Ridge, Virginia, restaurant in 2008. After just three months of Huff’s intensive focus, the store turned a profit. This was the start of her 10-year stint as managing partner of the location she grew to love. She says her success was driven by “having some skin in the game.”
“I was so appreciative for the opportunity to be responsible for the success of my restaurant and having some ownership in what I was doing,” Huff says. “Taking a small investment and watching it grow––that was appealing to me.”
No newcomer to the brand, in high school Huff was a hostess at the original Glory Days Grill––a family-friendly sports restaurant––in Burke, Virginia. She was soon promoted to server, and eventually bartender when she turned 21. After graduating from college, Huff returned home and became an assistant manager at one of the locations in a growing network of Glory Days Grill restaurants before managing the Stone Ridge restaurant.
David Kohn, director of operations at Glory Days Grill, met Huff over a decade ago, when he was training her to be an assistant manager. He says it was clear from the start that Huff would be a great candidate for managing her own restaurant someday.
“She was a hard worker that understood the business,” Kohn says. “She was very smart, personable, and all around one of those people who will do anything to get the job done.”
Now, Huff is partnering with Carolina Performance Food Group, LLC to open eight Glory Days Grill restaurants in North Carolina, the first of which is slated for the Raleigh market. During her site scouting ventures, Huff is sticking to a formula proven successful during her time in Stone Ridge: community engagement.
“The first thing I look for are high schools, middle schools, Little League baseball fields, and soccer fields,” Huff says. “At each location we open, one of the first things I will do is go to the local high school, schedule a meeting with the athletic director, and say, ‘What can we do for you? How can we make Glory Days Grill the place you go after games?’”
Huff’s ambition and dedication to forming strong community relationships, combined with a strong brand position, an award-winning menu, and franchisee support, are what have made her a successful leader of the growing Glory Days Grill brand.
The brand’s commitment to its franchisees is unparalleled, says Kohn. “We offer our entire corporate training team of 15-20 people for two-to-four weeks,” Kohn says. “And that support doesn’t stop. We’re there by phone or in person any time a franchisee needs it.”
With 37 locations up and down the East Coast, the brand is looking for strong franchisee partners, like Huff, to help the company achieve its aggressive growth goals over the next few years. With existing stores in Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and opening soon in Georgia, Kohn says they are open to hearing from qualified franchise candidates.
“We’re looking for franchisees who are community-focused, have an interest in developing a market, and who really know the restaurant business,” Kohn said. However, someone who is impressed by the Glory Days Grill concept and is financially capable of investing in a territory will be considered if a ‘key operator’ is part of their ownership group. “If you’re going to be the financial investor, we want to pair you up with someone who knows restaurant operations. That’s why Kat is perfect. She really knows Glory Days Grill, is passionate about the communities in which she operates, and can really run restaurants. We want partners with that same passion."