EDGEWATER, Md. – A husband-and-wife team who signed a two-unit franchise agreement casual dining/sports bar chain The Greene Turtle in April has secured its first property in southeastern Virginia and is now making preparations in anticipation of a first quarter of 2010 opening.
Franchisees Kristen and Miguel Pagano signed a lease for a 7,200-square-foot space in Chesapeake, Va.'s Greenbrier Mall on September 16, and are currently training at The Greene Turtle's headquarters here before permanently relocating to the Chesapeake area to operate their restaurant. Kristen Pagano is a Maryland native who grew up visiting The Greene Turtle and worked as a server, bartender and certified trainer for Outback in the past. Her husband Miguel, a native of Uruguay, is a professionally trained chef and previously owned a nightclub and other food businesses. The couple had been living in Boca Raton, Fla., and saw The Greene Turtle's franchise program as the perfect opportunity to leverage their experience in the restaurant business.
"We couldn't be more enthusiastic as we head into this new venture," notes Kristen Pagano. "Miguel and I both bring valuable experience to the business that, when coupled with The Greene Turtle's brand strength, menu, décor, marketing and operational support and other assets, will give us a strong foundation to grow on."
The Paganos' 7,200-square-foot restaurant will be a standout feature of the Greenbrier mall, with both outdoor and in-mall entrances, separate signage and elevation, outside seating, about 200 feet of frontage along the mall's main entrance corridor, and strategic positioning on the main corridor across from the food court.
"This is an ideal space for one of our restaurants," says J. Michael Sanford, President and CEO of The Greene Turtle Franchising Corp. "The street visibility, separate entrance and outside seating will be a big draw to those specifically heading out for a casual meal, drinks with friends or a great place to watch their favorite sports teams in action. At the same time, the indoor exposure combined with our family-friendly atmosphere will offer mallgoers a welcome break during or at the end of a day of shopping."
The Greene Turtle will seek out other similarly advantageous venues for both corporate and franchise locations, Sanford adds, as it endeavors to capitalize on its refined offering and consistent popularity. The chain plans to open 25 locations in Virginia, and is seeking additional franchisees with the desire, experience and financial backing to develop multiple locations, particularly in Northern Virginia, Richmond and the Hampton Roads.
Opening in Chesapeake puts the Paganos in on the ground floor as The Greene Turtle quickly expands into Virginia and continues to radiate out from its Maryland base. The chain will open a company-operated restaurant in Fredericksburg in November 2009, and by early 2010, a northern Virginia franchisee will open his first restaurant in Leesburg, under a three-unit franchise agreement signed late last year.
The Greene Turtle made its first foray outside Maryland in 2007, opening a company-operated restaurant in Washington, D.C.'s Verizon Center. The restaurant, with its strong curb appeal and its own entrance into the sports and entertainment arena, strategically connects the chain from Maryland to points south, offering high visibility to tourists while catering to crowds of District-area businesspeople, government employees and event attendees. In 2008, The Greene Turtle also began a move north, opening another company-operated restaurant in Lewes, Del.
Earlier this year, The Greene Turtle announced plans to aggressively expand its presence in the East by more than 100 units, and launched a search for qualified multi-unit franchisees. Ideal candidates will be prepared to open three or more locations, have experience in restaurant, hospitality or foodservice operations and have the financial backing to support the typical $1.1M to $1.5M per-site investment for leased space, construction buildout, furniture, fixtures and equipment.
The Greene Turtle has taken numerous steps to strengthen its offering both for customers and franchisees, such as refining its menu, creating a successful limited-time-offer program and expanding its branded merchandise retail offering. The chain's flexible format lets operators find and open new restaurants more quickly by allowing them to move into a broader range of available spaces, while a careful balance between bar and dining segments help the company drive above-average sales of high-margin beverages - nearly 40 percent of total sales. In addition, the chain has created several widely acclaimed programs to establish and maintain connections with its customers and community, such as:
Franchisees secure the right to use The Greene Turtle's brand, marks and systems, strategic purchasing benefits unavailable to independently operating locations, and access a host of support teams and tools focused on making their operations successful.
First opened in Ocean City, Md., in 1976, The Greene Turtle today combines comfort food, a casual atmosphere and a sports bar theme marked by big screen TVs broadcasting local and national events, to present a popular year-round destination for families and friends of all ages. The Greene Turtle was ranked 22nd in the Restaurant Business "Future 50" list of the fastest-growing restaurant franchises in the United States, and was named one of Restaurants & Institutions' Top 400 Chain Restaurants of 2009. Franchise opportunities are available throughout the Eastern United States to qualifying investors.