Bradenton, FL (January, 2006) – First Watch Restaurants, Inc., the country’s largest privately owned breakfast-brunch-lunch restaurant company, closed out 2005 with five new restaurants on its books and several new executives at its helm. The company finished strong with year-end sales reaching $51,000,000.
First Watch President Ken Pendery said the company plans to branch into new territories in 2006, while simultaneously focusing on the continued development of existing markets. With approximately 40 company-owned restaurants planned for the next two years, First Watch is preparing for aggressive growth. New markets include: Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Cleveland, OH and Washington, D.C.
“It’s an exciting time for our company as we plan to open between 12 and 15 restaurants this year,” said Pendery. “The steady growth is a direct result of hard work and dedicated operators who are consistently focused on providing great food and great service to our guests.”
Expanding within existing territories, 2005 openings included locations in Bonita Springs, FL, Crestview Hills, KY and Tampa, FL. First Watch wrapped up the year by opening two restaurants on the same day (Dec. 19) — one in its hometown of Bradenton, FL. and another in Columbus, OH.
Situated in upscale shopping centers, the new company-owned restaurants range from 3,500 to 4,000 square feet and seat approximately 130 guests. All are company-owned stores and are open from 7 AM to 2:30 PM seven days a week except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
To support the company’s accelerated growth plan, First Watch strengthened its managerial infrastructure, first by hiring Rick Akam as Chief Operating Officer; Akam formerly served as COO for both Raving Brands and Hooters. First Watch veteran Kevin Hall was then promoted to Vice President of Brand, and Carol Newberry (formerly with Boston Market and Hops Restaurant Bar & Brewery) joined the company as Vice President of People. Joel Peterson moved into the role of Vice President of Training and Management Development. Directors of Operations Rod Hennig, Paul Pendery, and David Lynch were all promoted to Regional Vice Presidents, with Hennig overseeing Kansas and Missouri, Lynch running Florida, and Pendery responsible for Ohio, Kentucky and California.
Charitable giving played a major role in the company’s community relations efforts in 2005. First Watch Restaurants donated $10,000 to the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, an amount supplemented by employee contributions of cash, clothes and on-site assistance. Regional Customer Appreciation Days contributed profits from that day’s revenue to local charities, including Team in Training®, the major fund raising arm of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America in Ohio, the National MS Society in Florida, Children’s Miracle Network of Greater St. Louis, and Scholarships for Military Children. Individual stores supported local sports teams, school programs and community-based fundraisers. First Watch employees also brightened the holidays for the children of migrant workers, disadvantaged families identified by the Boys and Girls Club, battered women’s shelters, and victims of Hurricane Katrina.