Alternative Location, Location, Location

Non-traditional retail business locations such as airports, hospitals, and universities have become popular (and successful) business opportunities for some franchise brands that are actively on the grow. These types of locations usually offer plenty of customers and often only a few choices for food, beverage, and beyond. It's a perfect combination. Now add Bruegger's Bagels, Fazoli's Restaurants, Friendly's Ice Cream, Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, and Timothy's Coffees of the World Inc., to that list of progressive franchise operators looking for new opportunities.

Sun Capital Partners, a private investor, funds all five of these franchises and is behind this push to expand the brands into non-traditional locations. Officials say this new five brand expansion strategy is an offshoot of the company's budding Bruegger's expansion into airports during the past couple of years. The strategy makes sense considering the dwindling food service offered by most airlines and the large number of hungry travelers filling airport terminals.

Under the plan unveiled late last year, the five restaurants can bundle and leverage their brands, as well as key personnel, to pursue non-traditional opportunities while leveraging the efficiencies of the related brands. In turn, this strategy offers a valuable proposition for leasing agents, concessionaires, operators of airports, hospitals, and universities who may welcome dealing with a single point of contact as they consider doing business with one or all five of the franchise brands. The diversity of the five brands' products provides food service offerings for just about any time of day.

Of course a brand may decide to move into a new target market on its own, the bundling concept presents a competitive value proposition to leasing and real estate agents, suppliers, contractors, and potential franchisees and a viable concession option for airports, universities, and hospitals. Flexibility is key here, depending on the availability of space or preference for certain brands. The new initiative offers a single brand option or a combination of two, three, four, or five nameplates.

The five brands combined currently operate around 1,300 restaurants and outlets throughout 28 states.

Published: February 10th, 2010

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