First Watch’s rapid expansion plan of its daytime cafe chain will continue in several states throughout the Southeast and Midwest.
The Bradenton-based company announced Thursday that it has signed franchise agreements to develop 36 restaurants within the next five years in Miami as well as in Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina and South Carolina.
“We spend a great amount of time getting to know our potential franchise partners and their values, goals, experiences and overall work ethic, and they do the same for us,” Chris Tomasso, the president of First Watch, said in a news release.
“Both our existing and our new franchise partners have all shown an ability to develop and successfully operate restaurants in multiple markets, and we’re confident that each of these groups will operate successful First Watch restaurants while maintaining our people-focused culture.”
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The expansion breakdown:
▪ A Miami-based franchise group plans to open at least 10 additional First Watch restaurants in and around the city. Further details of the partnership will be announced in the coming days.
▪ RAS, LLC plans to develop seven new restaurants in Charleston, S.C., Augusta, Ga., and Savannah, Ga. RAS operates eight Jersey Mike’s locations in the Charleston and Chattanooga, Tenn., markets.
▪ TFW Licensing, LLC is planning at least six restaurants in the Greensboro, N.C., and Winston-Salem, N.C., markets. TFW Licensing once owned 40 Papa John’s locations in three states.
▪ Quail Bridge Enterprises has 10 planned openings in northern Louisiana and Mississippi. The franchise group also operates several Newk’s Eatery restaurants in Louisiana and Mississippi.
▪ National and Battlefield Investments, LLC has an agreement for at least five openings in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas.
In addition to the 36 restaurants to be built under the new agreements, the company’s existing franchise partners are scheduled to open more than 75 First Watch locations by 2022 based on previously established development.
First Watch has grown dramatically in recent years, led by the company’s May 2015 purchase of The Egg & I that nearly doubled its restaurant total and eliminated one of its biggest competitors. Other acquisitions include The Good Egg in Phoenix and Bread & Company in Nashville, Tenn.
Founded in 1983 in California before moving its headquarters to Bradenton three years later, First Watch has restaurants in 26 states, including more than 200 First Watch locations and 95 The Egg & I cafes.