Huddle House in 2013: Banner Year for Growth, Partnerships, Revamped Restaurants
Bolstered by new design and strategic partnerships, breakfast franchise ends year with expansion into more than eight states
When Michael Abt took the helm as Huddle House CEO a year ago, he praised us for being an iconic breakfast franchise well-positioned for growth, and he predicted an extraordinary year. As we look back on 2013, it’s clear that Michael’s vision is coming true. We’re in great shape! Here are some highlights of the year.
Huddle House is expanding into several states —Texas, Georgia, Alabama, Illinois, West Virginia Pennsylvania, Indiana and North Dakota, to name a few. And we’re only just getting started. There’s still a massive demand for what we offer. We focus on an underserved market, small towns and communities that can greatly benefit from having a friendly community hub, a place to huddle up, mingle with friends and gather after the high school football game. Many Huddle House locations are in small towns of 5,000 or less.
We are a classic American brand and breakfast franchise with 400-plus units in more than 21 states, but in many ways we still have the mindset and energy of a young entrepreneurial company. We know there are countless communities in small towns and near highway service stops that would be well-served by Huddle House. Of course, there are plenty of large cities waiting for a Huddle House presence, too. We anticipate adding at least 100 stores in the next five years, but honestly, there’s room for many more than that.
The Great Recession was a scary time for the economy, but it also taught us many lessons, especially when it comes to the importance of secure jobs. While large corporations are an important part of our economic fabric, small businesses such as Huddle House restaurants are the backbone of our communities. One thing’s for sure: Huddle House’s dynamic, sustained growth continues to create jobs in many parts of the country where jobs are needed the most. Our Huddle House franchisees tell us over and over that one of the most gratifying parts of their job is being able to provide jobs to their friends, family members and neighbors.
Huddle House has outperformed similar full-service restaurants in the past three years. One of the secrets to our success is our ability to create win-win partnerships. For example, in 2013 we entered into a joint venture with CEFCO Convenience Stores, a 250-unit chain in Texas. We also signed an agreement with Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Travel Centers, a 550-unit chain and one of the nation’s largest wholesale fuel providers. Such strategic relationships make a lot of sense for all parties involved. They expand the Huddle House brand to non-traditional locations. Plus, a Huddle House that operates in conjunction with a travel center or convenience store typically involves a much lower initial investment than traditional freestanding restaurants. The expanded presence strengthens our brand overall while still allowing us to maintain our core values.
Innovative new design
The appeal of Huddle House didn’t waver in tough economic times, and now that the economy is doing better, we’re poised for even stronger growth. One reason we’ve been able to sustain healthy growth is that we continually adapt to the times. In 2013, our new Huddle House Evolutions store design caught fire and delivered sales increases to participating franchisees. We launched a $2.5 million incentive program that offers $25,000 in incentives to owners who remodel their existing restaurants. Our stunning new design has an open kitchen that invites more interaction with customers. It also features a signature tower entrance and an interior with contemporary colors and plush seating. The new design is propelling the brand forward in a big way. We anticipate more than 90% of our units to feature the design by 2017.
Hiram Griffin, a longtime Huddle House owner in Nashville, Ga., who is in the midst of remodeling, recently expressed his enthusiasm for all our exciting changes. “It’s a great time to be with Huddle House,” Hiram said “I’m seeing opportunities I’ve never seen before. It’s like being reborn.”
Learn more about Huddle House
We’ve had a great 2013, and we’re anticipating an even more exciting 2014. 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 any meal, anytime. If you think Huddle House might be the right franchise opportunity for you, fill out this form to download our free franchising report or call us at 1-800-418-9555.