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How our company-owned stores help us streamline operations

Our restaurant franchise runs even better when the leadership is on the front lines with the franchisees

Most franchises make their money off royalties, so it makes sense that policies and operational systems are created with the bottom line in mind. But when a restaurant franchise like Huddle House actually owns and operates its own stores, the leadership gains some subtle differences in understanding what it takes to run a franchise in the real world.

In the last quarter of 2016, Huddle House acquired a group of 15 franchised stores to increase our portfolio to 30. With those additions, we are in a unique position to understand more clearly what’s working well and what needs improvement.

“It makes a difference when you’ve got some skin in the game,” says Christina Chambers, Vice President of Franchise Development, who has experience both in franchise development and as a franchise partner herself with Great American Cookies. “We’re really in there with you.”

“Of course, it’s not our plan to grow the brand with only company units. But we do it strategically in areas where it makes sense for us. Our ultimate goal is to stay around 90% franchised and remain committed to our franchise partners. With company-owned stores, we get an authentic experience of what it’s like to run a Huddle House diner franchise from a franchisee’s perspective.”

A platter of three sunny-side up eggs, three strips of bacon, two sausage patties and a pile of hashbrowns is pictured. A Pepsi, a small bowl of grits and a waffle are slightly out of focus in the background.
Huddle House doesn’t just tell franchisees how to operate; we’re in the trenches with them, operating several company-owned stores.

Guiding our growth

Huddle House has been around for more than half a century, but we continue to attract new guests to our restaurant franchise with Southern-branded hospitality and quality food that is a mix of comfort food and twists on old favorites. Our franchisees find value in our experienced, hands-on leadership team and our continued expansion into new territories. We’re planning to grow our 400-plus unit chain by adding another 100 locations in the next four years, including opening 25 units this year and awarding an additional 30 franchises.

Part of our growth has been propelled by CEO Michael Abt’s injection of new energy and guest-first culture into our brand. Our introduction of the updated Evolution store design reinvigorated sales, with Evolution stores outperforming non-Evolution stores by more than 27% on average annualized sales, according to the 2016 Huddle House Franchise Disclosure Document.

Under Abt’s leadership, Huddle House has also introduced a new back-of-house technology system for tighter control of food, paper and labor costs, as well as a new Huddle Up Rewards loyalty program to help with guest traffic and retention.

Retaining our values

Through it all, Huddle House has stayed true to the same core values that we’ve always cared about. Guests are the No. 1 priority for our franchise owners, and franchise owners are the No. 1 priority for our corporate team.

We are a Georgia-based chain of all-day breakfast restaurants known for delicious diner fare and for providing a community gathering place, often by locating in areas too small for other national chains to consider.

Country ham, sausage and bacon are covered in gravy, topped by a fried egg and American cheese and sandwiched in a biscuit, plated with golden hashbrowns.
The Loaded Meat-Lovers Biscuit kicks it up a notch for fans of country ham, sausage and bacon. The franchising experts on our leadership team kick it up a notch for our franchise owners.

Guests know they can count on us for “Any meal. Any time.”, whether their favorite Huddle House is run by corporate or by a local business owner. Franchisees know they can count on us for consistent support and franchising expertise, and with our company-owned stores we can test and refine new procedures before rolling them out systemwide.

Learn more about Huddle House

If you’re interested in investing in a restaurant franchise and would like to hear more about the outstanding franchisee support at Huddle House, we invite you to fill out the short form on this page. You will be provided with your own password to access the Huddle House Franchise Information Center, where you can review our financial information, read Q&As with longtime franchisees and more. We look forward to hearing from you!