First Watch to expand in Texas, Louisiana
UNIVERSITY PARK -- Acquisition of a former competitor is paying off for First Watch.
Daytime cafe company First Watch signed a franchise agreement with Mac Haik Enterprises to develop up to 18 restaurants in southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana. The expansion marks First Watch's largest franchisee agreement to date, according to a release from First Watch.
Joseph Michael "Mac" Haik was also the largest franchisee for The Egg & I, another daytime cafe company acquired by First Watch in May last year. Haik's 30 franchisee restaurants were a part of the 114-franchisor entity purchase. The first of Haik's First Watch properties to open throughout Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Baton Rouge is slated to open in College Station, Texas in mid-2016 according to the release.
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Haik is a former wide receiver for the Houston Oilers and Mac Haik Enterprises operates companies in automobile dealerships, construction, health care, hotels and office building and retail development. First Watch's success and culture attracted Haik to re-enter the daytime cafe market.
"We've always believed that business is about the people," Haik said in the release. "It's rare to find a company that, while maintaining substantial growth and relevancy, is able to preserve a company culture that embraces not only its employees and customers, but also its franchisees and external stakeholders."
And Haik's history in Texas gave Ken Pendery, First Watch CEO, faith in the expansion plans.
"Mac has had a home in Houston for decades," Pendery said in the release. "He loves the area, the people, the culture, and we have the utmost faith in his organization to show the region what First Watch is all about."
Haik's restaurants will feature First Watch's new restaurant design and revamped menu, according to the release.
Janelle O'Dea, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095 or follow her on Twitter@jayohday.