“People are obviously a lot more conscious of the things they are eating,” Fox says. To that end, the concept offers elevated proteins and a plant-forward, chef-constructed menu in a space that feels more like casual dining than fast casual. Flower Child’s open kitchen drives this home, as guests watch their dishes throughout the prep process.
Locations are all about 3,500 square feet and modeled after an East Coast potting shed, Fox says. There are lots of floral touches. The large, open dining room allows for great energy, and there is a separate take-out area in each store to allow for ease of third-party delivery and take-out business. Plus, locations in warmer regions like the West Coast and South have expansive patios.
The first Flower Child came to life in Phoenix in 2014, with a second following in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the first out-of-state location in Santa Monica, California—both in 2015. The brand now has several units in California, plus stores in Texas, Georgia, Colorado, and the D.C. area. Plans are underway to plant flags in North Carolina and Tennessee.
Two years ago, The Cheesecake Factory pitched in an equity investment to help Flower Child grow. As of press time, 15 leases have been signed across the country. “Our goal is to open somewhere between six and eight units a year,” Fox says.
The guest profile for Flower Child is, in general, health conscious, affluent, and educated, Fox notes. The brand seeks locations with great parking and potential for strong business at lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Additionally, the team likes to be near outdoor activities, gyms, and lifestyle stores like Lululemon that match Flower Child’s philosophy.
Geography, however, continues to be the brand’s—and the restaurant group’s—biggest challenge, Fox says. As a West Coast operation growing eastward, identifying the unique trends in each individual market can prove tricky. To overcome this hurdle, Flower Child has set up an ambassador team that builds a local presence in target areas, participating in job fairs to get the word out and then training people back in Arizona, where it all started.
“We’re investing in people so they understand the culture and the vibe of what we’re trying to accomplish,” Fox says.