HUDDLE UP! Huddle House Eyes 100+ New Locations
September 13, 2012
With a new Evolution (EVO) prototype that sees 30-35 percent higher sales volumes, a new strong franchisee with Pilot Travel Centers, LLC and a growth strategy that puts the focus on small towns and multiple venues, Huddle House Restaurants has its sights set high for extraordinary growth over the next five years, with plans on opening 30 restaurants in 2013, 35 new restaurants in 2014, 35 in 2015 and 40 in 2016.
“With 26 new locations opening the past two years and nearly 30 new stores already signed on for 2012-2013, we can tell the efforts we have been putting into store re-designs and other initiatives are paying off,” said Huddle House’s Chief Development Officer Mark Whittle. “Our comp sales have continually increased over the last 19 months in a row and we see signs of that continuing. There is great momentum for the brand”, said Chief Marketing Officer Marc Butler.
Two major drivers of the recent comp sales growth for the brand have been very successful Limited Time Offers such as Scrambles and Stuffed Hashbrowns, and its EVO reimaging program for the existing restaurants. “We have completed over 16 EVO reimages in the past 12 months and the sales success is phenomenal, with sales lifts between 10% and 35% depending on the level of remodel completed by our franchisees,” said Tom Cossuto, Huddle House’s Chief Financial Officer.
Following the brand’s strategy of opening new restaurants in smaller towns rather than large city centers, an initiative spearheaded by Whittle, Huddle House will double its signed locations in Texas, a focus market, in the next month alone. Other focus markets include Illinois, with plans to open 15-20 new locations over the next five years, Pennsylvania and Ohio, with 15 new locations in the next five years and Iowa, where the brand plans to open 10 locations in the next five years. In addition, the brand has aggressive plans to continue to build out new restaurants in its core markets in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.
“It’s an aggressive strategy, but the current success we are seeing tells us it’s also realistic,” Whittle said.
Adding to the brand’s success is an increased focus on new restaurant locations in alternative venues to ground up freestanding construction, such as joint development with truck stops and travel centers. Huddle House signed four new deals for restaurants in Pilot Travel Centers in the recent weeks, with five more deals set to be closed by the end of August. This brings the total number of deals to be developed by Pilot Travel Centers to 15.
“Aligning the Huddle House name with Pilot Travel Centers has been a huge success for both parties,” Whittle said. “We have a great dialogue going and have positioned the Huddle House brand as the go-to option if a Pilot is looking to add a full service restaurant component.”
In addition to restaurants attached to Pilot Travel Centers, a new unit prototype is also attracting new franchisees to the Huddle House system. The brand completed 15 store openings over the past year, with 22 franchise stores and three company stores set to open through the rest of 2012 and into 2013.
With the availability of new territories, the new unit prototype and the partnership with Pilot Travel Centers, franchising with Huddle House is in its prime.
“Each time we open a new location, we add about 30-40 new jobs in that community,” said Whittle. “The prospect Huddle House offers its franchisees on all levels, from the opportunity to own your own business to providing your community with jobs and a real community environment with great food, have never been better.”
ABOUT HUDDLE HOUSE
Huddle House, Inc., a full-service family restaurant chain, is well-known for serving “Any Meal. Any Time.” in communities around the country. The Huddle House menu has a wide variety of comfort food items and features signature Big House breakfast and sandwich platters, as well as favorites such as country fried steak with green beans and marinated grilled chicken with sweet potato fries. The core values on which Huddle House was founded in 1964 – serving quality food in a warm, friendly environment that brings the community together – remain intact today. Typically open 24-hours, Huddle House serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all day. In 2011, Huddle House implemented a new and fresh design with flexible seating so even larger groups can come and enjoy 'Our House'. The Atlanta-based, 400-unit franchise is located in 20 states, primarily in the Southeast, Central, Midwest and Southwest U.S. For more information, please call 1-800-418-9555 or visit www.huddlehouse.com.