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After Brand Overhaul, Huckleberry’s Ready to Grow


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Huckleberry's footprint ranges from 3,200-4,300 square feet, with an AUV of $1.4 million.

Greg Graber has big plans for Huckleberry’s, the breakfast and lunch concept he took over in 2016 and has spent the past two years readying for growth.

“I think Huckleberry’s has legs everywhere,” says Graber, CEO of Heritage Restaurant Brands, which franchises Huckleberry’s, Cool Hand Luke’s and Perko’s Café Grill. Huckleberry’s has nine restaurants open in Northern California and recently signed a deal with STC Management to head south with a location in the Anaheim GardenWalk near Disneyland. Six more are in development this year through a combination of new and existing franchisees.

Graber, who was CEO of Ovation Brands and a former executive with Don Pablo’s Mexican Kitchen, joined with industry veterans Chip Anderson, Reem Atkins and Dave Glennon to form Heritage Restaurant Brands in 2016 after acquiring the aforementioned three concepts from Randy Brooks and franchisor Brooks Restaurant Group.

“He was looking for an exit,” says Graber of the deal with Brooks, “and it’s been foundation building for the first two years, establishing relationships with franchisees to understand what they need.”

Of the three concepts, Huckleberry’s was identified for its growth potential and has undergone a complete brand update with new menu, logo, website, really “the whole gamut,” says Graber, pictured below. “We’ve done so much to give our franchisees branded support.”

“The breakfast and lunch category is fast growing,” he says of why Huckleberry’s is the first to get the overhaul treatment. “We think Huckleberry’s has a unique niche because of our ambiance and our menu.

“We call it an escape to the bayou,” he continues, pointing out the theme isn’t over the top or garish, but rather conveyed though Southern hospitality and touches such as zydeco playing in the background.

The menu is “Southern cooking with a California twist,” and includes items such as a crab cake eggs Benedict and shrimp po’boy, along with mimosas and a Bayou Bloody Mary. “We’ve elevated the brand to make it a little more contemporary,” notes Graber.

Graber is on the hunt for multi-unit operators, along with developers and investors who may have the capital but aren’t looking to run day-to-day operations. That was the case with STC Management, which bought the Anaheim GardenWalk and is working with Huckleberry’s to install an operator at the new restaurant.

“There’s a lot of great operators out there who don’t have the wherewithal to open their own restaurant,” says Graber. “So there’s an opportunity to pair them with an investor who doesn’t have the restaurant experience but wants to get into the business.”

Huckleberry’s has a total investment range of $280,000 to $1,055,000 and an annual net AUV of $1.4 million.

Graber is sharing the Huckleberry’s story and investment opportunity during the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas May 6-8, joining 75-plus growing franchise brands presenting during this annual franchise investment conference.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
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