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The advantages of an in-house supply chain

Are there even any disadvantages? From where our 350 breakfast franchises are sitting, our in-house supply and distribution system is all pluses

An overhead shot of plates of omelets, bacon, sausage, waffles, grits, toast and country-fried steak with gravy and a side of green beans, along with silverware, sodas and a cup of coffee.
Everything on the table (except the bread) is provided by Huddle House’s in-house supply and distribution center.

One of the core strengths of the Huddle House business model is an in-house supply chain and distribution system, which benefits operators of our 350 breakfast franchises through lower costs, simpler inventory management, and predictable door-to-door delivery schedules.

Nathan Ballard, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain, oversees our systems. The in-house supply and distribution started the same time Huddle House did, back in 1964.

“We had a true commissary, and we actually baked pies and made stews and cut meat and all that good stuff, and we drove them around the city to all of our restaurants,” Ballard says. “So, it is in our DNA to be a franchise and to be a distributor.”

(Almost) everything, including the kitchen sink

Huddle House supplies franchise owners with everything they need to run a restaurant with the exception of bread, which is supplied via a third-party vendor. Because Huddle House’s supply chain focuses exclusively on our brand, with one set of standards for everyone, it improves service, consistency, and “also generates tremendous economies of scale,” Ballard says.

“Franchise partners benefit really well from exact spec products at the best price you can find anywhere. And then you top that off with the service that comes along with literally being the only customer we have? All the way around, it’s a value proposition that most franchisors cannot offer.”

Most of our locations get one delivery per week, and we bring the product into the back of the house. Most deliveries have a store operator or manager in attendance, along with extra staff to stock the products, and our supply team has a 95% on-time record, Ballard says.

“Our stores have true appointment times,” he says. “We’re not the cable company. We don’t tell them we’ll be there between 8 and 1. If their delivery time is 8 a.m., their delivery time is 8 a.m.”

Ballard says he is often asked why Huddle House operates its own in-house supply and distribution. “And the answer is, as long as we’ve run restaurants, we’ve distributed food,” he says. “It’s just what we do.”

Learn more about Huddle House

To learn more about our diner franchise opportunity, including startup costs and the average earnings for our franchisees, please fill out the form on this page. You’ll receive your own password to access the Huddle House Franchise Information Center, where you can review our financial information, read Q&As with longtime franchisees, review tutorials for first-time franchise buyers and more. You can also explore more about the business opportunity on our research pages.