Plano, Texas-based Homestyle Dining LLC has launched a national franchising program aimed at bringing its highly successful, well-received, new fast-casual concept, Cole’s Backyard Grill, to neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the U.S. Cole’s Backyard Grill is a modern dining experience built around familiar American fare with a culinary twist offered at reasonable prices in a welcoming and eclectic environment reminiscent of backyard gatherings with friends and family.
The concept, originally introduced in May 2014 as Bo’s Steak & Grill as an incubator test concept, recently underwent a name change to better reflect the ambiance, menu, and personality of the fast-casual restaurant that has become a favorite dining spot among guests of all ages in its hometown of Lindale, Texas. With the introduction of the new name, and several exciting enhancements to the menu and kitchen operations, the brand is now in an optimal position to expand nationally.
The franchise program debuts with special incentives including reductions in franchise and royalty fees for the first 10 deals. The “Pioneering Program” significantly reduces the initial franchise fee from $29,500 to $19,500, and royalty fees from 5 percent to 3 percent with the cumulative 15-year royalty savings potentially covering a majority, if not all of, the entire FF&E and build-out conversion expenses. According to Tom Sacco, CEO, Homestyle Dining, which owns, operates, and franchises Cole’s Backyard Grill, the early-entry discount can translate into hundreds of thousands of real dollar savings.
“During the past year, we’ve worked diligently to refine every detail, every menu item, our speed of cooking, along with our service model to make Cole’s Backyard Grill a favorite gathering spot in cities and towns across the country,” says Sacco. “Based on guest input during the past year and additional consumer research, Cole’s Backyard Grill is now in an enviable position, offering an entirely fresh, fast-casual dining experience built around creatively redefined but refreshingly familiar American food at reasonable prices in a comfortable and welcoming environment. We are looking for qualified restaurant operators, single or multi-unit, who want to grow with us and introduce this new and exciting brand of hospitality to America and beyond.”
Expansion plans include recruiting qualified franchisees to open a dozen locations in 2016 with a goal of approximately 100 restaurants during the next five years in the U.S. and internationally and breaking the 250 restaurant threshold beyond 2020.
The first franchise location is under development in The Dells, Wisconsin, and is expected to open in late 2015. Franchisees Wayne and Jill Manternach are successful owners and operators of a Ponderosa Steakhouse restaurant in The Dells that opened in August 1995. Homestyle Dining also owns and operates the Ponderosa Steakhouse and Bonanza Steak & BBQ restaurant brands.
The typical Cole’s building will be approximately 2,500 to 3,000 square feet, not including the patio, and will seat around 100 guests. The company expects the concept to perform well in smaller towns and cities, but should do exceptionally well in larger suburban and urban areas as well.
Cole’s franchisees will be able to leverage a corporate training program, site selection assistance, food distribution and national procurement relationships, grand opening support, marketing support, franchisee field support, as well as many other proven programs from a well-established and seasoned management team.