Home » Famous Toastery ready to get back to ‘casual dining roots ‘| A View From The Top

Famous Toastery ready to get back to ‘casual dining roots ‘| A View From The Top

Robert Maynard, the CEO of Famous Toastery, reveals how the 40-unit casual dining brand has navigated the changing restaurant space and how he expects the brand to move forward post-pandemic.

Robert Maynard, the CEO of Famous Toastery, reveals how the 40-unit brand has navigated the changing restaurant space.

Robert Maynard, Famous Toastery, CEO

Nearly a year into the pandemic, we’ve learned just how scrappy the industry can be. Between modifying services, limiting in-person dining and emphasizing curbside pick-up and delivery services, we’ve become better prepared for any additional surprises that might come our way — and the industry as a whole is growing in spite of change.

As a casual dining franchise, the challenges of the pandemic that Famous Toastery has faced have looked a little different than those facing the fast-casual and QSR spaces. Prior to the initial lockdown, we were already in the process of developing different online ordering platforms to help support our franchisees and corporate stores, but once things were officially shut down, we quickly pivoted and distributed the platform across all of our locations within four days in order to meet the needs of our customers.

The reality of it was that the aggressive pivot to online and third-party ordering wasn’t a choice — it was born of necessity, and in turn, it’s helped our franchisees navigate the changing space. As the backbone of the brand, Famous Toastery’s leadership team has done everything in our power to help make our franchisees stay positive and feel supported. We forgave royalties for several months and then implemented lower royalty rates. We also directed them to the information they needed to utilize funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Every decision made was an attempt to create an environment to help franchisees feel confident in their ability to stay open while keeping themselves, their employees and their customers happy and safe.

Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve been able to successfully open three new stores. In a world that’s been flooded with negativity over the last several months, our new stores have been the shiny pennies that customers have been abuzz about. Even with a 50{431c92db2ef93c421a350be785d244bd702e2c73a34f2b6f60cd8fd62b61507d} dine-in capacity, the attention we have received and the excitement surrounding our openings has been exponentially higher than we expected. At the heart of it, it’s the versatility of Famous Toastery’s franchise model and the drive of franchisees that kept this momentum going, and we’ll continue to ride that wave through the rest of the pandemic and beyond.

The restaurant industry as a whole has learned how to operate well during a crisis, and it’s prepared itself for betterment outside of the bubble we’re living in now. Our stores are experiencing record numbers operating as they are now, but Famous Toastery is at its strongest operating with its full-service model, and we’re ready to double down on that when it’s safe and when we’re able to.

People are certainly still craving our food, but what they’re craving more is the atmosphere surrounding it. Conversation, friendships, relationships — everything is based around food and the dining experience. QSR and fast casual have done remarkably well over the past few months, and while casual dining is trailing right behind, Famous Toastery is prepared to blow that expectation out of the water. The economy is going to make a comeback after all of this pent-up demand to get out and socialize — we’ll be ready for that day, whenever it comes.