Doc Popcorn Founder Back in Game for Modern Market Launch
Modern Market Eatery's new franchise program will be helmed by Renee Israel, co-founder of Doc Popcorn.
A 10-year trek has Modern Market Eatery ready to launch a franchise program in 2020. “We’ve been reinventing the concept from the kitchen out,” said CEO and co-founder Anthony Pigliacampo in an interview at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference last week.
Backed by L.A.-based private equity firm Butterfly Equity since 2018, Modern Market Eatery began a decade ago and has 30 corporate-owned stores in six markets. “A finely engineered kitchen” is the key to the unit level economics of the concept, said Pigliacampo, a mechanical engineer by training. The restaurant turns out healthy food for $11 or $12 per entrée rather than $20 that customers might find elsewhere for similar quality, he said.
“When we started our kitchen it took 10 people to produce $1,500” of maximum capacity an hour. “Current is five people for $4,500” per hour, he said.
Renee Israel, co-founder of Doc Popcorn, which she and her husband and co-founder Rob Israel sold to the parent of Dippin’ Dots five years ago, is chief franchise officer of the venture. A second brand under Butterfly’s umbrella, Lemonade restaurants, will be teed up for franchising in 2021, Israel said.
She stayed at Doc Popcorn for four years after the sale, then she and Rob took their family to live in Spain for a year. Now she’s back in the game. “I love my franchise family. I didn’t want to leave it,” she said.