Best Franchises for Small Towns: Huddle House Brings Community Together

Why Huddle House breakfast franchise is a great investment in smaller communities.

Hiram and Jeanne Griffin know a little something about what it means to a small town to have a central hub, a hangout where people can pop in before work, share fellowship after church, or celebrate after a football game. They met on a blind date at a Huddle House, which Hiram already owned. Now they run the Nashville, Georgia, location together. They love what the restaurant provides for their community, and both are very hands-on. Hiram does everything from making waffles to busing tables, and Jeanne, an elementary school teacher, pitches in on weekends.

“Every day is different at Huddle House,” says Hiram. “It’s not just eggs, bacon and cooking. It’s really about the people. I love to see a customer smile after enjoying a good meal. When you get compliments on your food, on your good service and the cleanliness of your restaurant, it feels really, really good.”

A franchise that sees the value in small towns

Our brand has always been designed to be a neighborhood gathering place, and we have multiple formats that will allow our breakfast franchise to work anywhere from urban hotels to suburban endcaps. The reason Huddle House is one of the best franchises for small towns is because the brand is particularly effective, and important, in small communities. Many small towns get overlooked because some national chains don’t know how to make the numbers work in lower density areas. Some brands need 30,000-50,000 people within an 8-minute drive for their model to make sense.

But Huddle House has small-town roots. Ours is the perfect niche model because we can make the numbers work where most chains can’t. We excel because we provide the very thing these underserved communities are missing: a place where the community can gather, and sometimes the only full-service restaurant for miles.

“Hahira, Georgia, had a number of small local restaurants — you know, the usual Mexican, Chinese, pizza and sandwich shops — but there was not a full menu, full time, full service restaurant in the community,” says Barry Robinson, who has spent the better part of 30 years in Hahira. “I knew there was a need there and Huddle House would be the right fit.”

Huddle House Franchisee Standing In Front Of Huddle House Sign

Does your community have a beloved sit-down restaurant? Is there a go-to breakfast joint or a family-friendly hangout? If you’re an experienced entrepreneur who’s been looking for that certain something your town has been missing, read on.

Good food, fair price, great value

Huddle House Customer Leaving A Huddle House Restaurant

Customers love our friendly service, but Huddle House customers, first and foremost, come in for our cooked-to-order food. Golden waffles, perfectly seasoned ribeye steaks and baked potatoes, country-fried steak with gravy, and, hey, while you’re at it, biscuits and gravy. They love that we serve “Any Meal. Any Time.”

It’s not just about our bottomless coffee cup. It’s also about how you and your server know each other on a first-name basis. The cook may start frying up your bacon just the way you like it when you first hit the door. It’s knowing there’s a place to take the Little League for milkshakes and burgers after the game. It’s having a place for date night. It’s a restaurant everyone can agree on for brunch after church.

That’s because we serve good food at a fair price. When combined with our branded Southern hospitality and our ability to provide a convenient gathering space for the community, that equals a great value.

Building wealth by building community

We love our customers, we love what we do, and best of all, we love being able to improve a community by establishing a community asset that also provides franchisees with a tool for wealth-building.

Huddle House has been proven to work in markets of virtually any size, but in some of the small communities we serve, we’re the only game in town, the only place where a customer can get a full dinner coming off the graveyard shift, the only place where the prom committee can meet over cokes and fries after school. We serve our favorites around the clock, and breakfast foods are by far the biggest favorite.

Huddle House Waffle Maker

That’s great news for our franchisees. Breakfast items tend to have high profit margins, and since the breakfast menu accounts for more than half of sales in a typical Huddle House, franchisees are able to deliver great food at an excellent value while maintaining strong margins.

If you choose to build our freestanding core concept, you can also buy the commercial land on which the restaurant sits, turning eggs and bacon into a long-term real estate investment strategy.

Robert Wiggins Jr. and his father built a Huddle House in Hazlehurst, Georgia, in the early ’90s and sold it 7 or 8 years later. When Wiggins, a multi-unit food franchise, learned their old restaurant closed a few years ago, he knew immediately what he had to do.

“I had noticed around my area how Huddle House was really growing and changing their outlook and the way they look with the remodel design,” Wiggins says. “I decided it was a brand that I wanted to get back into.”

He opened another Huddle House in Hazlehurst in September 2015, and the community was very responsive. “It is pretty much their gathering place,” he says. “Most small towns don’t have your Applebee’s, Ruby Tuesdays, Golden Corrals or any of these big sit-down restaurants, so it is really a place to go after the ball games, after church on Sunday nights and stuff like that.”

High margins, high customer loyalty

Ever wonder what “Any meal. Any time.” really means? Well, of course, it means what it says literally, but in the broader sense it speaks to how we feel about customer service. Customers are the reason we’re here. They inspired the founding of our restaurant all those years ago in Georgia, and they’re why we cater to all four dayparts: breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night.

Our all-day breakfast offers high margins, and our branded Southern hospitality ensures a high rate of return. On average, our repeat customers visit Huddle House 47 times a year.

Our customers

Our customers value community and personal service. They get to know their neighbors, and at a Huddle House they’re likely be on a first-name basis with the server who fills their coffee cup every morning.

Our restaurant teams are genuine, and that authenticity matters in the communities we serve. They may live further apart in rural areas, but their communities are close-knit. They look to Huddle House as a gathering spot. There may be other restaurants in town, but Huddle House truly offers a place to gather and reconnect.

Startup costs

The average investor can expect to pay from $444,192 to $1,550,670 depending on what footprint you choose. Huddle House franchisees can choose from a leased endcap location, a freestanding building, a co-branded space with a travel center or convenience store, or an in-hotel location. Investment costs can be lower for purchasing and remodeling an existing restaurant.

We offer franchisees and their management teams 5-9 weeks of intensive training in an operating Huddle House restaurant, designed to help you ramp up your business as quickly as possible.

To learn more

You can discover more about the Huddle House franchise offering by exploring our research pages. Once you fill out a request form, one of our responsive development representatives will get in touch with you as soon as possible for a quick conversation. We look forward to hearing from you!