Hansel ‘n Griddle, a fast-casual restaurant known for its more than 70 freshly cooked-to-order menu items that are served all day, has announced plans to expand its franchising program to other parts of the northeast.
With five locations currently open and operating throughout New Jersey, four of which are franchised and have opened in the past three years, the company is ready to start aggressively scaling its franchising operations. University markets and downtown districts of major cities are specifically being targeted as part of the growth strategy.
“We see an opportunity to fill a void in the fast-casual segment, which has plenty of burger joints, sub shops, Mexican restaurants and pizzerias. The Hansel ‘n Griddle concept defines its own category and offers an expansive, cooked-to-order menu with something for everyone,” says Nick Komandis, the 35-year-old owner of Hansel ‘n Griddle, noting his concept, unlike others who limit their market by only serving one type of food, is able to draw customers during multiple times of the day and week. “We’ve been blown away with the enthusiasm for our brand in New Jersey and are thrilled at the chance to open expansion through qualified partners in new markets.”
After graduating from Rutgers in 2004 with a degree in economics, Komandis spent approximately six months working at Hansel ‘n Griddle for free. His intention was to learn the business and eventually purchase the restaurant from its original owners, which he did in March 2005 with some financial backing from his parents.
The first few years of his ownership consisted of 7-day work weeks between a short staff of six: Komandis, his mother, his chef and a rotation of three friends. Komandis would work double shifts from the moment it opened at 10 a.m. until it closed at 11 p.m., delivering food in the morning and afternoon and working the cash register at night. His mother would work the register during the day for free. Delfino, a chef who still works at Hansel ‘n Griddle to this day, would work from opening until closing every day of the week. The delivery driver during the night shift was whichever of Komandis’ three friends who wasn’t busy with class.
The persistence and hard work has paid off. Today, there are five Hansel ‘n Griddle locations throughout various parts of New Jersey and its expansive menu has grown to the size it is today.
Hansel ‘n Griddle offers more than 70 freshly cooked-to-order breakfast, lunch and dinner menu items that are served for dine-in, take out or delivery. Options include all-day breakfast, made-from-scratch burgers, paninis, wraps, buffalo wings, freshly chopped salads and homemade soups, including an award-winning chili. The restaurant’s most popular items are the Crisps (Hansel’s version of a quesadilla) and unique smoothies, both of which appear on Hansel’s Top 20 List, a selection of menu items compiled from a yearly survey of customer favorites.
Fifty percent of Hansel’s business comes from delivery, which is offered all day at each location. In addition, customers can track their orders using an advanced, in-house online ordering and delivery platform. The average delivery time is under 30 minutes.
Catering options for breakfast, lunch and dinner are also available.
According to Komandis, adaptability is one key to Hansel ‘n Griddle’s success. “As time passes, we are continually adding and removing items from the menu. Unlike sub shops and burger joints, whose main menu items always have to be subs and burgers, Hansel ‘n Griddle changes its menu based on consumer demand and trends,” he says. “This adaptability is very appealing to our customers and franchisees alike.”
To augment the company’s expansion plans, Hansel ‘n Griddle is looking for highly qualified individuals to open franchise locations. Including a franchise fee of $35,000, the initial investment to open a Hansel ‘n Griddle franchise ranges from $228,500 to $488,500.