Columbus, Ohio-based Sunny Street Café is celebrating 10 years as a family friendly breakfast and lunch brand, looking both at their past and forward to their bright future as an expanding franchise.
Sunny Street, which cracked its first egg in Dublin, Ohio in 2007, operates 18 restaurants in Ohio, Texas, Missouri, Alabama, Illinois, and Edmonton, Alberta. A leader in the "all-day" breakfast category, the restaurant was born and raised as a neighborhood bright spot. That neighborly feel is now the signature of the brand.
"Sunny Street is really great at creating that warm, welcoming feeling," says Megan Ada, a longtime Westerville, Ohio franchisee. "We remember people's names and know the stories about the guests that walk into our doors. They make things fun! Sunny Street really creates a family."
Sunny Street is marking its latest milestone with a "10 Years and Still Crackin'" party throughout the chain. The celebration, through July 31, features 10 days of giveaways, throwback menu items and special event employee t-shirts. Customers can spin a prize wheel for free coffee, $10 gift certificates, and Sunny Street swag. The grand prize is a "free breakfast for a year" contest, with one lucky winner at each participating restaurant announced on Aug. 8.
While fun is always at hand, serving up an extensive breakfast menu and seasonal selections in a warm, inviting atmosphere remains the focus as a franchise, notes Mike Stasko, vice president of brand strategy.
"Our menu is fresh and unique - comfort food, reimagined," says Mike Stasko. "We have also done a good job with LTOs. Our limited time menu offers have been tremendous for us."
The restaurant is honoring an original menu classic for a good cause with the return of the popular Angus Burger "Black and Bleu Wrap." 10 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the throwback item and donations collected at the counter benefit the Kids In Need Foundation. The charitable organization provides kids with the tools they need to succeed with the donation of basic school supplies to children that can't afford them.
The partnership is a shining example of Sunny Street's founding promise to give back to the community. Over the years, the chain has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to local and national charities and focused marketing on the support of local schools, teams, and civic groups. Each restaurant, open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., reflects the neighborhood area it serves. The community-centric restaurant concept has also resulted in a loyal employee following, says Stasko.
"We have had a number of 10-year employees, which is pretty crazy in this day and age with the turnover in the restaurant business," notes Stasko. "I think having long-standing staff that really care about the restaurant and care about the community is a big piece of our success too."
Sunny Street intends to stay true to its roots as it forges ahead with growth plans through franchising. The fast casual dining brand recently unveiled a fresh, modern interior look that will be the face of the franchise as the chain expands ("Modernizing and Reimagining" Sunny Street Café's Restaurant).
The redesign includes light colors, more windows, butcher-block booths, and a new community table. Sunny Street is also cooking up changes in the kitchen, with an upgraded gallery-style layout and a separate prep station for catering, a burgeoning segment of the business.
With soaring same store sales, the casual restaurant franchise is poised for growth. Sunny Street is currently developing sites throughout the Midwest, and has aggressive expansion plans underway in Texas.
Veteran franchisee Ada has watched Sunny Street successfully evolve over the years to become "a big part of my life," she says. She credits franchisor support for her success as an owner.
"I am celebrating how far we have come from our beginning sales to now," she says. "We have worked really hard and are truly appreciative of the business. I never take it for granted. We all continue to work hard!"
The only publication dedicated exclusively to the hottest topic in franchising - Multi-Unit and Multi-Brand Franchisees.