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May 5, 2011

(Sarasota, FL)—While First Watch Restaurants continue growing aggressively across the country, the Bradenton-based Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch restaurant company hasn’t forgotten its home market of Sarasota. First Watch plans to add to its four Sarasota area restaurants with a new location set to open on the northwest corner of Bee Ridge Road and Cattlemen Road in early 2012 in a to-be-built building. The new restaurant will be the 35th First Watch in Florida and expansion plans don’t stop there.

“We’ve had wonderful support in our home market since our first restaurant opened in South Sarasota in 1986, and we’ve always looked for opportunities to open more restaurants in this area,” said Chris Tomasso, chief marketing officer for First Watch. “First Watch is growing quickly—both in Florida and in other cities across the country. We’re entering at least five new markets this year in Florida and other states.”

First Watch plans to open restaurants in Jacksonville, Nashville, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City and Indianapolis for the first time this year. Up to 15 restaurants in these new and existing markets are slated to open in 2011—nearly 20 percent growth. Some of this growth comes from First Watch’s franchise program, and the company is continuing to sell key multi-unit, regional franchises to experienced restaurateurs in new markets in 35 states throughout the continental U.S. First Watch currently has three franchise groups who have committed to opening 12 franchised locations with five franchised locations already operating.

“We have a really solid foundation and we are really starting to experience traction with our franchise program,” Tomasso said. “We expect growth to come from multi-unit franchisees with restaurant experience that are looking for a concept with great food and solid corporate support.”

First Watch has received more than 200 “Best Of” accolades in Florida and across the country and features traditional favorites like pancakes, omelets, salads and sandwiches as well as signature items such as the Chickichanga and Fresh Fruit Crepes. All menu items are freshly prepared to order. First Watch delivers an excellent dining experience known for fast, friendly service. Each restaurant offers guests complimentary newspapers and free Wi-Fi Internet access.
First Watch is the largest and fastest-growing, privately owned, daytime-only restaurant chain in the United States with 86 restaurants in 11 states. By the end of 2012, First Watch expects to grow to 115 restaurants, with about a dozen franchised locations open and more than 30 in various stages of development. For more information, visit www.firstwatch.com.

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