First-Time Franchisee Brewing Success with Sunny Street Café in Texas
The first time Texas franchisee Earl Bowling experienced the warm and welcoming atmosphere of a Sunny Street Café restaurant, he knew the fast casual breakfast and lunch brand was the right franchise fit for him.
“I loved the décor, the service, and food,” says Bowling, a Sunny Street Café franchisee since 2012. “The servers took the time to talk with me, as they were not rushed to have me in and out quickly, and I didn’t wait long for my meal.”
Sunny Street Café’s success as a bright spot for all-day breakfast and lunch in Bowling’s hometown of Weatherford, Texas—just West of Fort Worth—is a family affair poised for growth.
The restaurant, operated by Bowling, and his sons Daniel and Patrick, is Weatherford’s top spot for breakfast on Trip Advisor and Yelp. The trio, with more than 40 years of combined restaurant experience, is set to open a second Sunny Street Café early next year in the nearby community of Willow Park. Bowling says franchisor support from the Columbus-based Sunny Street brand has been strong from the start.
“We placed all of our savings into this and knew as many as eight out of 10 restaurants fail in the first three years without the support and guidance of a team of experts behind them,” says Bowling, president of ED&P LLC. “With Sunny Street’s guidance, and our commitment to providing the best service and food, we have had annual sales growth of more than 8 percent. This will be our best year ever at just more than 12 percent. “
With 18 franchised restaurants in five states and Canada, Sunny Street Café’s focus on fresh reimagined comfort food and family-friendly service is fueling franchise growth nationwide. The brand expects to double the size of the chain over the next three years, starting with aggressive expansion plans in Texas. Sunny Street recently inked a new development agreement to add 20 additional restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area over the next four years.
Bowling, a military veteran, started working in the food industry in 1981, as a way to supplement his military income to buy his first home. These days, armed with an extensive background in restaurant management and operations with a national quick service restaurant brand, Bowling handles the financial side of franchise ownership and works daily at the restaurant. Sons Patrick and Daniel handle the day-to-day operations of the business. Bowling says Sunny Street, whose restaurants are opened daily from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., offers franchisees freedom, balance, and a winning business model.
“We believe that we should be in control of our business not the business controlling us,” says Bowling. “We start early around 5:30 a.m. and are home with our families by 4 p.m. Employees also love it for the same reasons, with no shift longer than 8 hours.”
Sunny Street’s community-centered spirit is also important to Bowling, who received best small new business accolades his first year in business from the local chamber of commerce. His hometown Sunny Street Café actively supports the Center of Hope for Battered Women and Children, breakfast-related events for the high school and VFW, and other local causes. Bowling is ready to spread the brand’s successful formula to a new, nearby neighborhood.
“The future is bright for Sunny Street, here in North Texas, as well as in Austin, San Antonio, Abilene, and many other cities in Texas,” Bowling says. “I would recommend Sunny Street Café to anyone that wants to work hard and have their community support and love the food and service.”
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