The Stand, a fast-casual concept focusing on redefining American classics, announced their first expansion to a new market with 15-20 locations planned across Texas over the next few years through a license agreement for all of Texas with Norman Abdallah and Neil Billingsley-Michaelsen. Both Abdallah and Billingsley-Michaelsen bring a wealth of restaurant industry experience and this expansion signals the unparalleled growth opportunities for the brand.
The Stand has been a regional, family-focused business since opening in 2003 with eight locations currently across Southern California and two new sites in development. In response to consumer demand and after experiencing consistent quarter over quarter sales growth, the brand feels now is the right time to grow outside of Southern California. Despite the pressures across the restaurant industry with COVID-19, The Stand continues to show resilience and positive same store sales growth due to its broad appeal, high-quality menu and safety measures taken to protect team members and diners.
“The Stand has been a strong brand for over 15+ years, and it all comes down to our commitment to uncompromised food quality with unparalleled variety in the fast casual space, all while delivering unbelievable value,” says founder and Chief Executive Officer, Murray Wishengrad. “We have one of the most diverse menus in the fast-casual category giving our customers maximum flexibility in the occasions they visit and a variety of options to satisfy even the largest family or group.”
Chef-driven with limitless customization and wide “craveable” appeal, the menu is the central focus of the brand experience. The theme is American fare with a twist and the options are endless.
“Our menu consists of made-to-order options on everything from burgers to sandwiches to locally made sausages to a large selection of unique salads, sides and desserts using the highest quality ingredients with often hyper-localized sourcing and flexibility to meet a variety of dietary needs,” adds executive Vice-President and Culinary Visionary, Jason Wishengrad. “Particularly as we open the Texas market, we’re focused on working with local meat and produce suppliers, bakeries, and breweries to ensure that local connection.”
The brand’s differentiated fast casual offering has created a diverse and loyal customer base since it opened. Set in unique and appealing locations, these high-performing units are positioned for rapid growth under the leadership of experienced, best-in-class operators. The concept also has strong board-level involvement and significant investor interest including Texas-born Norman Abdallah, Chairman of Buffalo1942 LLC, and Neil Billingsley-Michaelsen, CEO, who just signed the deal to license these units in Texas. Both bring a vast portfolio of experience in the food and restaurant industry at the senior executive and board levels working with brands including Chili’s, California Pizza Kitchen, Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group, Romano’s Macaroni Grill and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, and they are particularly committed to growing brands in their home state.
“I was introduced to the concept by Andrew Jhawar, Senior Partner at Apollo Global Management, who had personally invested early on to become the majority shareholder in The Stand, and the first thing that drew me to the concept was the level of food quality which I would put on par with most fine dining establishments yet at fast casual prices. That paired with a menu that appeals to such a wide variety of guests and occasions, works across multiple dayparts as well as delivery and catering means the possibilities are endless,” says Abdallah. “The other thing was the strong community aspect of the brand and commitment to giving back. It’s something I’ve always been passionate about across every brand I’ve worked with and I look forward to bringing those roots of The Stand forward in this expansion.”
Abdallah and Billingsley-Michaelsen’s initial plan for expansion includes two locations already in progress in the Uptown and North Dallas neighborhoods. The remainder of the 15-20 locations will be in development across the next five years with significant investments along the way to grow The Stand throughout Texas.
With the brand poised for growth, this is likely the first in a wave of expansion and additional state license developments for The Stand.