Breakfast is still big for 2017, plus more growth is in store and a new redesign will be unveiled to get us to our goal of being the best breakfast franchise around.
When you take a look at what’s trending in food for the upcoming year, it’s nice to see one category that stays on that list consistently: breakfast. That daypart just happens to be our specialty, since we serve it 24 hours a day, and it’s one of the things we think makes us the best breakfast franchise in the country.
We know that “best” anything is somewhat subjective, but it’s always our goal to win that accolade from guests and franchisees alike. One way we do that is by setting up clear objectives every quarter and every year. Here’s what you can look forward to from us in 2017:
At our annual franchise conference last summer, CEO Michael Abt unveiled exciting new plans for Huddle House restaurants. Our last redesign, which we rolled out five years ago, proved to be a big success for our franchisees, since those who remodeled saw a measurable increase in same-store sales. The Evolution redesign was part of our effort to revitalize our brand, and we recognize the need to keep evolving — which is why we began work in 2016 to further improve the design.
More than half of the nearly 400 stores in our system have adopted the updated image, compared to only 6% four years ago. Sales results were dramatic. For stores that were open the entire 2016 fiscal year, Evolution stores outperformed non-Evolution stores by more than 27% on average annualized sales, according to the 2016 Huddle House Franchise Disclosure Document.
Our hope is that our newest redesign, which we’ve dubbed Evo 1.5, will also drive a spike in sales for our franchisees. Based on an innovative kitchen remodel that will increase efficiency and speed of service for our guests, along with additional seating and a slightly larger footprint, we believe that Evo 1.5 could more than double the AUV in stores that adopt that design.
We’re excited to implement a new back-of-house technology system for our franchise partners that will enable them to more efficiently control food cost, inventory and labor costs, and it will be fully integrated in our current POS system.
We are also continuing to roll out a new Huddle Up Rewards loyalty program nationwide, with a mobile app available on iTunes and Google Play.
An expanded presence
Huddle House has its roots in the South, and our Southern-inspired comfort food and Southern hospitality will always be a core part of our brand. We have been excited, however, to expand beyond our traditional Southeastern market by developing territories in the Midwest and Northeast.
We’re planning to open 25 units and sign 30 additional franchises in calendar 2017, part of our plan to add another 100 locations over the next four years. This kind of methodical, considered growth allows us to maintain the integrity of the brand while expanding into markets that are new for us.
We have also made a strategic decision to increase the number of company-owned stores, and in Q4 acquired a group of 15 franchised stores to increase our portfolio to 30. Look for Huddle House to utilize our company stores for the benefit of our franchise partners. We will be a more effective front line when it comes to trying out new policies, procedures and other operational changes before rolling them out to franchise owners.
More breakfast, please
When you’re branded as a breakfast franchise, you find that comes with a little competition. That’s why you have to stay on top of your game. We serve delicious food in all dayparts, with burgers and sandwiches for lunch and steaks and shrimp for dinner, among other favorites. But breakfast remains a perennial favorite, and that’s only going to continue in 2017.
Customers can look forward this year to a new, delicious menu category called Knife & Fork Biscuit Platters, which expands on our hugely popular Southern Smothered Biscuit Platters. At Huddle House, we take pride in our menu, offering great food at a great value.
We explore new flavor combinations with our limited-time offers, which sometimes make their way to our permanent menu. But we’ll never stray far from our core offering of Southern-inspired comfort food, because that’s what our guests crave. Our guests know they can always count on us for the same wonderful Southern diner classics they’ve been enjoying for more than half a century.
Learn more about Huddle House
If you’ve like to learn more about the opportunities to join the best breakfast franchise in the country, please fill out the form. You’ll receive your own password to access the Huddle House Franchise Information Center, where you can view startup costs, average earnings for our franchisees, read Q&As with longtime franchisees, review tutorials for first-time franchise buyers and more.