Looking for opportunities to continue building on years of momentum, despite the challenges of the pandemic, Famous Toastery, the 26-unit better breakfast, brunch and lunch franchise, launched its first ghost kitchen in 2020. That innovative new store model was opened in Warrenton, Virginia, by guest-turned-franchisee Angela Goodman, who also operates one brick-and-mortar location and one ghost kitchen in the state. Now, Goodman is planning to open a third location in Prince William County with the fast-growing franchise brand.
Goodman’s continued reinvestment with the better-breakfast brand is a testament to the value franchise owners across the brand’s system are finding with Famous Toastery. After relocating to Charlotte, North Carolina — Famous Toastery’s home turf since its founding in 2005 — Goodman was a frequent guest and saw firsthand just how popular the concept was. When she learned of the brand’s franchise availability, she knew she’d found a rare and potentially lucrative opportunity. “I had been working in the HVAC industry. The experience was rewarding, but I had reached a point where I wanted to get into business for myself,” she said. “I also knew that I wanted to be a part of the food industry. I didn’t expect to get into franchising, but when I found out that Famous Toastery was franchising, I knew it was right for me.”
The Pandemic Helped Famous Toastery Franchisees Define Their Individual Brand
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the franchise’s corporate team quickly pivoted to adjust to a dramatically altered restaurant landscape. On top of providing health and safety guidance for their franchisees, the corporate team initiated a new point of sale (POS) system to offer online ordering to their customers in only four days.
Beyond that immediate operational support, the corporate team also made sure to give franchisees the freedom to make individual choices that they felt would benefit their specific restaurants. For Goodman, this meant stepping up to the plate and focusing on local marketing efforts in her community.
“When it came to local marketing, we created family-meal kits and coordinated a neighborhood drop-off program, where a customer would call us during the week and place an order for the whole neighborhood, and we’d deliver the food over the weekend,” Goodman said. “We wanted to get breakfast out for the people and made sure to advertise locally so people knew that we were open seven days a week with curbside pickup, contactless payment and more. On top of that, we teamed up with the local tennis association and raised about $5,000 to feed workers at several hospitals in the northern Virginia area. The efforts were extremely well-received. We even won an award from the United States Tennis Association.” Goodman also created a restaurant ownership group for other local businesses in the community to create a space where business owners could share best practices and support each other.
“Angela is an example of how innovative our franchisees can be,” said David Burgess, Chief Operations Officer for Famous Toastery. “She reached out to our marketing team with great ideas, and we were able to help with design, but she really took it and ran with it. In addition, Angela led the company in contactless payment orders and spent a lot of time calling customers to get their payment information and organizing points for drop-off. She was also able to add text payment to create a more streamlined POS.”
Marketing Became A Bigger Focus For The Famous Toastery Franchise
Burgess also noted that Goodman did a fantastic job prioritizing social media marketing and connecting with local HOA groups to advertise her family-meals kits. “The marketing team works hard to help franchisees negotiate contacts, design promotional material and more,” said Burgess. “But it is not just about giving franchisees a one-size-fits-all process to use, it is about working together to create the best strategy based on that particular market. As Angela shows, when franchisees really take the opportunity to drive these best practices home, it can be massively successful. While there are some system-wide promotions we offer, each franchisee has complete autonomy when it comes to local marketing efforts.”
Since Famous Toastery is a part of the family-oriented breakfast, lunch and brunch segment, Burgess says local store marketing is the key to connecting with the community. “Pandemic or not, connecting with the local community is essential for this daypart,” said Burgess. “If a franchisee doesn’t drive home that local messaging, they will fall behind. Franchise owners know their customers better than anybody else — they are the ones who are interacting with the community day-to-day — and our most successful restaurants are the ones that create a friendly, go-to hangout for breakfast, brunch and lunch. Bringing the community together is so important, especially now.”
Goodman noted that her ghost kitchen was particularly successful throughout the pandemic. She was also able to successfully pivot the dine-in business model to 100% carry-out at the height of the pandemic by offering online ordering. Goodman was also the first to pilot a new offering with DashNOW so guests had a seamless process to place orders over the phone and take payment via text link. Now, Goodman says she is focusing on developing another location in Virginia and “getting the concept of where it needs to be in the marketplace that it’s in.” Additionally, she’s actively looking for dine-in space to transition her ghost kitchen into a full dine-in restaurant.
ABOUT FAMOUS TOASTERY
Charlotte, N.C.-based Famous Toastery began in 2005 in a small house-turned-restaurant where best friends Brian Burchill and Robert Maynard opened their first breakfast spot. Never compromising fresh ingredients or friendly service, Famous Toastery evolved into a franchise system in 2013 and now has over 25 locations. In 2020 and 2019, Famous Toastery placed on Restaurant Business’ The Future 50, featuring the fastest-growing small chains. Famous Toastery was ranked No. 9 in the Full-Service Restaurants category of Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top Food Franchises of 2019 and on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 Rankings in 2019. In 2018, Famous Toastery received recognition by CNBC as a top franchise to buy, FSR Magazine as one of the Top 14 restaurant chains ready for lift-off, Inc. 5000’s list of the fastest growing companies and Franchise Times’ Top 200+ franchise opportunities. For more information about Famous Toastery, visit www.famoustoastery.com. To learn about franchising opportunities, please visit www.ownatoastery.com.