November 29, 2011 // Franchising.com // Southfield, Mich. - Bagger Dave’s Legendary Burger Tavern, a unique, full-service, ultra-casual restaurant and bar concept, announced this week plans to open their first franchised location in March 2012. The first franchised restaurant will debut in Cape Girardeau, Mo. in the Town Plaza shopping center at 2106 William Street, and is the first of six locations set to open over the next five years by local business partners Bill Zellmer and Lonnie Griggs. Zellmer and Griggs currently operate six area-Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW) restaurants together. This is the first Bagger Dave’s location set to open outside the state of Michigan, where six corporately-owned locations exist.
“We are thrilled to be a part of the Bagger Dave’s franchise system,” Zellmer said. “Choosing Bagger Dave’s for our next franchise opportunity was a no-brainer—the food and the atmosphere are dynamite, and it’s a concept we can be proud to say we’re a part of.”
Zellmer and Griggs, veterans of the restaurant industry and well-known faces in the local community, have the multi-unit restaurant management experience it takes to run a successful string of franchised restaurant locations. Zellmer, who studied business management at Southeast Missouri State University, bought his first franchised BWW location in Cape Girardeau in 2001, and it opened the following year. He now owns two locations of his own and co-owns four with Griggs, who is director of operations for all six locations.
Searching for a new restaurant franchise concept that would complement their BWW endeavor, the brother-in-laws learned about Bagger Dave's through Michael Ansley, president, CEO and chairman of Diversified Restaurant Holdings, Inc., the owner/operator and franchisor of Bagger Dave’s and a leading franchisee of BWW. In November 2011, the business partners signed on to open the six first ever-franchised locations. Aside from the first restaurant slated to open in Cape Girardeau, new locations are planned for Carbondale, Ill., Paducah, Ky., Bowling Green, Ky., Evansville, Ind. and Clarksville, Tenn.
“This is a significant step for the growth of Bagger Dave’s,” said Ansley. “We’ve spent the last three years perfecting the product and operations in our corporate-owned stores and we are more than ready to expand via franchising. Bill and Lonnie will be an excellent addition to the Bagger Dave’s family and we are looking forward to future expansion with the right development partners.”
Like the other locations, the franchised Bagger Dave’s units will offer the same warm, welcoming neighborhood atmosphere and memorable service guests have come to expect. The restaurants will feature full table service and a bar serving local craft beers and wine, and will dish up fresh, never-frozen, premium beef-blend burgers on three different types of buns with a choice of Bagger Dave’s 30 Meaningless Free Toppings®, letting patrons create their own legendary beef, all-natural ground turkey, or veggie black bean burgers.
Bringing Bagger Dave’s to Cape Girardeau will fill a niche for a quality full-service burger joint in the area, and will be a welcome alternative to mainstream counter-service burger restaurants.
“We are looking forward to having the opportunity to play an active role in growing the Bagger Dave’s brand,” Griggs said. “We’re jumping into this at the very early stages—it’s exciting to be a part of something from the beginning.”
The Cape Girardeau location is one of up to 24 total locations—either corporately owned or franchised—that are planned to open over the next five years. Targeted markets for growth include Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Illinois.
Bagger Dave’s has identified a niche in the burger business with a modern interpretation of the old-fashioned neighborhood bar. In addition to premium burgers, the menu also features fresh-cut potato French fries using a Belgian fry process, Dave’s Sweet Potato Chips®, Amazingly Delicious Turkey Black Bean Chili® and Sloppy Dave’s BBQ®, as well as sandwiches, salads and hand-dipped milkshakes.
Atmosphere is equally important at Bagger Dave’s. The restaurants are inviting for adults and kids alike, with localized décor of the town’s historical past displayed throughout, a bar and even an electric train that runs above the dining room and bar areas.