Iconic Chicago restaurant brands Buona and The Original Rainbow Cone have announced today the first Buona/Rainbow Cone dual-concept locations outside of Chicago. Led by experienced entrepreneurs and real estate developers Jesse Alvarez, Chicago native now residing in the Nashville metro area and Tony Vendramin, the new Buona /Rainbow Cone locations will bring the classic Chicago flavors to the Nolensville, Franklin, Spring Hill and Smyrna communities in 2023. The Fast Casual restaurants will include a double lane drive-thru, spacious dining room and a mobile ordering pick up zone. Alvarez and Vendramin are the first dual-concept partners of the Buona/Rainbow Cone franchise program launched earlier this year.
Both Alvarez and Vendramin have a long history as successful entrepreneurs. Alvarez owned the popular Chicago-area restaurant Buffalo Wings and Rings for six years before selling it to pursue franchise development, while Vendramin is an Indiana native accomplished in business and real estate development. A longtime fan of Buona while living in Chicago, Alvarez learned about the Buona/Rainbow Cone franchise program and asked Vendramin to join forces to bring the family-owned brands to Nashville. The two have been friends and business partners for over twenty years and share the same spirit and values as Buona/Rainbow Cone families.
“We are thrilled to join the Buona family and be the first dual-concept partners in their exciting franchise program,” says Alvarez. “I’ve loved Buona for many years dating back to my roots in Chicago and can’t wait to bring it and Rainbow Cone to our Nashville neighbors.”
“The Buona family views their franchise partners as family and have worked closely with us at every turn,” says Vendramin. “It’s as if we gained a group of siblings giving us constant guidance and help to collectively develop our locations. Jesse and I are appreciative of their care and support.”
The Buona/Rainbow Cone franchise program extends the legacy and success of the Chicago brands by empowering operators to bring its successful, proven concepts to their own regions. The program includes direct access to its proven business approach, developed and perfected to support its long-range vision and partners, modern and sleek restaurant design, industry-leading technology, shoulder to shoulder training and operational support, e-learning, marketing resources, real estate and construction assistance, field teams, and more to help franchise partners succeed with potential for strong, above average unit volumes.
Buona was founded in 1981 by Joe and Peggy Buonavolanto, who dreamed of bringing Chicago flavors and opportunity to their family and surrounding communities. Its signature Italian beef sandwich features clean, all-natural beef with no preservatives, seasoned with its classic family recipe and layered on fresh Italian bread, as well as a range of other menu options. For more than four decades, the company has expanded to 26 restaurant locations in the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana with the involvement of multiple third generation Buonavolantos and hundreds of local employees. As a result, Buona is the largest family-owned Italian beef restaurant group and Italian beef producer in the country. The Original Rainbow Cone was founded in 1926 by “Grandpa Joe” Sapp, who was never satisfied with just one ice cream flavor and stacked five delicious flavors on a single cone. The local tradition has since expanded to kiosks and trucks throughout the Chicagoland area in addition to its original Southside location.
“We are excited and humbled to have Jesse and Tony bring our family recipes to the Nashville Area,” says Joe Buonavolanto Ill, third generation family member and VP of Franchise Operations at Buona. “We couldn’t have chosen better partners and can’t wait for Nashville natives to experience our Italian Roast Beef Sandwich and Rainbow Cone.”
Buona will hold a range of fun events in the Nashville community including a Buona, ‘Beef it Up Truck’ tour, Grand Opening festivities, and giveaways to alert the region of the new Tennessee location. The franchise partnership program is open to experienced entrepreneurs and investors interested in multi-unit opportunities. Initial investment figures range from $1.572M to $2.620M. The company anticipates more out of state locations to be announced later this year in Arizona and Florida.