Founded in 1964, Huddle House has been serving guests for 49 years. The past few years have seen a complete redesign of the look of the brand. “We’ve redesigned the interior and exterior of our restaurants. We’ve expanded the menu and added new, exciting Southern items,” says Jim Carr, director of franchising. “However, the three biggest things that continue to draw Franchise Partners to us is our sales performance, the low cost of entry and how we position ourselves in the market with our menu.
“For sales performance, our new model units are doing exceptionally well. This makes Huddle House attractive to multiunit developers who want a way to expand their portfolios.
“Regarding the low cost of entry, our restaurants can be opened for less than our direct competitors and less than most quick-serves in the industry today.
“As for the menu, we serve a wide variety of quality breakfast, lunch and dinner items all day, every day! Our customers may order ‘Any Meal. Any Time,’ which means we have a competitive presence in all the day-parts in our markets. Huddle House restaurants are located in 22 states. We’re as far north as Fargo, North Dakota and as far west as Texas.”
“We're expanding our scope to develop with hotels, convenience stores, travel centers and retail center end caps. Our goal is to locate where we can develop in strong trade areas.”
Huddle House has opened markets to Franchise Partners by being more flexible about locations. “For a long time, we were only opening freestanding units,” says Carr. “Now we’re expanding our scope to develop with hotels, convenience stores, travel centers and retail center end caps. Our goal is to locate where we can develop in strong trade areas.” The company also is willing to help partners with conversions; costs of converting may be as much as 40 to 50 percent lower than new builds. Huddle House is excited about its newly designed building models with softer colors, padded booths and flexible seating options for customers.
Huddle House’s flexible building plans suit many markets smaller than those of some of the bigger franchise players, markets those systems won’t even consider. The company values small markets as much as its larger markets and will select sites in rural areas (minimum population needs to be just 12,000 in a five-mile radius). The approach offers potential investors uncrowded markets to develop.
The company supports its expansion into all markets with an internal food distribution system to all Huddle House restaurants, which makes it possible to offer the lowest operating costs to the franchisees while still providing the highest level of quality and service.
Existing Franchisee Partners continue to develop with the company, which is 97 percent franchised, by opening new stores. “We will continue to build from within and to look for qualified candidates from outside as we grow,” says Carr.
“Financials of candidates are important, but we’re also looking for franchisees who are service business professionals. We’d like to have people with ownership and operations experience, but an outgoing personality and relationship ties to the local community are essential,” he adds.
Although Huddle House operates across many states, its focus is on the local communities the restaurants serve. “Some people might think they can let corporate do the work. But we have a 49-year history of a successful community-based concept,” says Carr. “We continue to encourage our Franchisee Partners to be involved with those organizations and to develop long-term relationships with the community.”
Huddle House is focusing on growth in its existing footprint in the Southeast as well as new markets including Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas. They continue to sign franchise agreements with travel centers and convenience store chains across the country, further strengthening brand recognition.
For more information about franchising opportunities with Huddle House, visit www.huddlehouse.com