The Habit Burger Grill announced Wednesday a plan to parlay its distinctive positioning into strategic franchise expansion that will amplify the brand’s presence nationwide.
Focused on awarding development agreements to multi-unit, multi-brand operators with a track record of success running restaurants, The Habit Burger Grill moves into a new growth phase with significant momentum behind it. The award-winning Southern California-based concept with a Santa Barbara-inspired menu featuring premium ingredients at a quick-service-like value, has confirmed multiple recent development agreements covering prime New England, California, Las Vegas, New Jersey, and Seattle markets.
“We’re on the cusp of an exciting new era for The Habit Burger Grill, facing vast untapped growth potential and strong unit economics. The development team has been designing our strategy for several months and the energy behind it is taking shape,” says Russ Bendel, CEO of The Habit Burger Grill. “Along with forging ahead on our growth strategy, we’ve firmly established our operating model at the leading edge of the fast-casual sector through the implementation of tech-enabled innovations. The impact has been offering additional convenience enhancing the customer experience and streamlining in-store operations with a modernized mobile app, kiosks, online ordering and third-party delivery services.”
In addition to recent development agreements, the 280-plus unit brand announced the markets it is prioritizing for future franchise growth. While continuing its California expansion remains key for the company, it is advancing its U.S. growth plans with targets set for several Southeastern and East Coast markets.
Underscoring the new-unit expansion, The Habit Burger Grill plans on opening more new locations this year than any other year in the company’s history. Moreover, The Habit Burger Grill’s total systemwide AUV of $1.9 million in 2019 and $1.8 million in 2020, demonstrating resilience during the pandemic.
“Our current franchise partners have been incredibly impressed at just how relevant our model is in today’s rapidly evolving world – as it relates to both consumer preferences and what operators expect from concepts,” says Chief Global Business Partnership Officer, John Phillips. “The support we have in place for franchisees is extremely thorough. From the technology to real estate, training, design, marketing and menu innovation, the package we put together for franchisees provides 360-degree guidance on running great restaurants.”
On the heels of several years of deep investments in technology, and amid a continuing stream of tech-forward innovations, The Habit Burger Grill has solidified its status as a brand built for today and the future, with app and web order sales that soared to nearly 40 percent of revenues in 2020. The brand’s all-access, digital customer experience on social, web, mobile app and email platforms provides a strong business layer, in addition to the excellence of the traditional restaurant experience.
The Habit Burger Grill saw same-store sales grow 3 percent on a two-year basis in Q1.. It’s a major improvement for the burger chain, which experienced a comps decline of 5 percent in Q4 2020.
Operationally, The Habit Burger Grill comes equipped with its unique flavor of chargrilling and a diversified menu which appeals to a broad consumer base. The balanced lunch-dinner daypart sales mix works harmoniously alongside a range of store models, including in-line end caps, end cap drive-thrus and free-standing with drive-thrus, all in suburban settings. The brand’s flexible footprint provides entrepreneurs with a wide range of real estate models fit for any market, as well as non-traditional venues such as colleges and universities, airports and amusement park complexes.
Since its inception in 1969, The Habit Burger Grill has established a respected reputation praised for its award-winning Charburger and its laid-back, welcoming California essence. In addition to the signature Charburger, The Habit Burger Grill’s trend-forward product innovation sets it apart from competitors in the fast-casual space with fresh salads, handcrafted sandwiches and a unique take on classic sides such as tempura green beans, sweet potato and French fries, and onion rings. The offerings also incorporate entrees featuring line-caught, sushi grade ahi tuna, fresh chicken and hand-filleted marinated steak. Along with the emphasis on handcrafted menu items, The Habit Burger Grill difference is based on the uniqueness of its chargrilling over an open flame and cooking from scratch.
Prospective franchise owners looking to be a part of the growing The Habit Burger Grill franchise should possess an entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiasm for the brand, proven business experience with success in restaurant operations, have the dedicated resources and infrastructure to operate restaurants, as well as the ability to source real estate and construction. Candidates should also have access to enough liquid capital for the development of multiple restaurants in a large territory and ideally live and work in the market they wish to develop.