After nearly two months of dining room restrictions, franchise owners of the breakfast, brunch and lunch concept Eggs Up Grill, are once again welcoming guests into their restaurants backed by the support of the brand’s leadership team.
Eggs Up Grill is a brand where franchise owners have a passion for serving guests great-tasting food with friendly service and the brand’s leadership team has a passion for supporting their franchise partners. These shared passions were never more evident than in the collaborative work it took for 100% of the system’s franchisees to receive funding through the federal Paycheck Protection Program. Now, these local Eggs Up Grill franchise owners are once again able to open their doors and serve their local communities as states begin relaxing dining restrictions put in place during the outbreak.
“From the day our restaurants were restricted to carry out and delivery we’ve been focused on how to help our franchisees get by and plan for a successful reopening,” said VP of Franchise Development Todd Owen.
A key driver in the reopening process has been the critical financial support franchisees received from the PPP program. Soon after the announcement of the Paycheck Protection Program the brand’s leadership team began rallying resources to support their franchisees in the application effort. The team was committed to learning as much as they could from their federal and state representatives, the Small Business Administration, local lenders and Eggs Up Grill’s private investment owner, WJ Partners.
“We leaned on the expertise of all the resources we had available to us and began holding daily calls with our franchise partners to help guide them through this unprecedented situation,” said Owen. “As the PPP program began to materialize, many of our calls were dedicated solely to answering questions our franchisees had about the process and how they can best use the PPP funds to rehire their team members and stay open to serve their neighbors. Members of our brand team made themselves available to answer any questions one-on-one and ensure that 100% success.”
Eggs Up Grill VP of Operations Jeff McCabe, who oversees the brand’s franchise owner and team training programs, is working diligently to ensure franchisees are prepared to welcome guests back inside restaurants with a safe, controlled, and healthy environment for guests and team members. The brand team increased communication touchpoints with franchise owners to ensure a seamless process, as franchisees open restaurants, dining rooms, and patios.
“We have been in constant contact with all of our franchise partners to provide support during the past several weeks, and that is only stronger during this reopening process,” said McCabe. “Our team of Franchise Business Consultants has detailed checklists covering everything from operational protocols to increased sanitization, social distancing practices, and marketing assets. We are holding regular calls with our franchise partners as well as virtual visits to help them work through the tactical details unique to their space and market. We know that guests’ expectations have likely changed. They’ll expect not only warm, friendly service and great tasting food but also operational standards that give them confidence in their health and safety.”
As the outbreak became a reality, Eggs Up Grill quickly realized the enormity of the situation. Within the first week, the brand took action to help provide financial stability to its franchisees through immediate royalty relief, waiver of marketing fees, negotiating price concessions from vendors, providing guidance for lease and rent negotiations, and preparing owners for how they best support their teams. This increased communication continues today through regular forums held to share best practices from local owners in their communities.
“Our team has come together during this time not only to support but to ensure that we are able to reopen and in a way relaunch our brand, stronger and better than before,” said CEO Ricky Richardson. “We’ve stayed in constant communication with our franchise partners, listening to their issues, helping craft solutions, finding ways to help support them, and most of all never forgetting the values we stand for as a brand. Our franchisees have rallied in this incredibly difficult situation to continue to support their communities through ongoing series of meal contributions to schools, first responders, and community organizations. They are now quickly moving their businesses to reopen, bringing back and retraining their teams on important, new sanitation standards, spotlessly cleaning their restaurants, ready to once again serve their guests.”
Although franchisors are doing their best to prepare, there are many unknowns when it comes to the landscape of dining rooms coming out of this situation. In response, Richardson has rallied the brand team to amplify capabilities to grow “outside the 4-walls” revenue – takeout, delivery, and catering.
“For Eggs Up Grill to effectively compete in the next normal, we have to grow our sales outside of dining rooms,” said Richardson. “Consumer demand for this option has been growing over the recent years due to the convenience it offers, and the current situation has significantly accelerated this demand. While many guests are anxious to return to their dining out habits, there will be a meaningful number who will be very cautious, continuing to stay away and dine at home. We’re quickly growing this segment of our revenue and taking steps to accelerate that growth.”
The brand expedited online ordering and third-party delivery across the system, introduced a “touchless” payment process, developed new, popular menu offerings like Family Bundles, and are consolidating learnings from franchise partners to create best in class operational standards. These reopening initiatives, as well as redefined promotional platforms, packaging, and menu offerings, will ensure that each franchisee can emerge from this situation, ready to increase their restaurant revenues by meeting growing consumer demand.
“We’re certainly entering a ‘next’ normal,” Richardson says. “But I’m incredibly confident in the ongoing appeal of Eggs Up Grill and our ability, as franchisor and franchisees, to continue to evolve our brand and business model to provide guests a great experience and value while offering franchisees a compelling lifestyle and investment opportunity.”
About Eggs Up Grill:
Eggs Up Grill is home to the whole neighborhood, serving smiles from sunup through lunch. The aromas of freshly brewed coffee, savory bacon and hand-cracked, farm-fresh eggs on the griddle, and warm, attentive team members will make you feel right at home. We are “neighbors serving neighbors” daily from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Recently ranked as the no. 1 breakfast franchise by Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500® for its outstanding performance in areas including unit growth, financial strength and stability, and brand power, Eggs Up Grill is experiencing record growth across the Southeast. Originally founded in Pawleys Island, S.C., by restaurateur Chris Skodras, Eggs Up Grill now has 47 locations and is headquartered in Spartanburg, S.C. In 2018, private equity firm WJ Partners acquired Eggs Up Grill, building the team and priming the brand to rapidly grow in more communities across the U.S. with plans underway to reach the 100 restaurant mark by 2023. For more information, visit eggsupgrill.com.