Fast Casual | December 2013 | By Terah Shelton Harris

Fast Casual Makes Play for Brunch

Toast Café uses brunch menu as growth driver.

Fast casual Toast Cafe focuses on brunch daypart to build business.
Toast Cafe
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When co-owners Robert Maynard and Brian Burchill launched Toast Café in 2005, they set out to create a concept that offers a better breakfast dining experience. In only a few short years, Toast Café grew to three locations in North Carolina, and the owners are now ready to ramp up growth with plans for expansion, including franchises, and to dominate the 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. brunch daypart.

“When we first started doing the brunch daypart, we discovered that there wasn’t a whole lot of people doing it,” Burchill says. “More and more people are driving toward brunch, and for us, it’s a huge driver.”

While the breakfast daypart has proved a successful business extension for many quick-service restaurants, Toast Café’s aim to create a niche in the fast-casual brunch daypart is not as common. But Maynard believes the team’s execution behind the scenes will help the company win the market.

“We have an ‘every server is your server’ concept, which is much harder to run. Every server is taking care of everyone everywhere, and they work as a team,” he says.

With plans to expand to 25 cafés in the next three years, Toast Café’s decision to focus on brunch is also a nice offering for future franchises, says one industry expert.

“Franchisees are looking for a business they can go into, invest money in, but still have a work and life balance,” says Steve Beagelman, CEO of SMB Advisors. “Toast Café gives them that option to get into the food industry and be closed for the day by 3 p.m. to be with their family.”