After spending nearly a decade with Wireless Zone, Jeff Panella is bringing his franchise experience to Famous Toastery to help drive the brand’s nationwide growth
Charlotte, NC (RestaurantNews.com) After landing on CNBC’s list of the top six food franchises in America in 2016, and receiving multiple best breakfast and brunch awards in their hometown market of Charlotte, North Carolina, Famous Toastery is gearing up to launch expansion plans under the new chief development officer, Jeff Panella.
To date, the company boasts 20 locations throughout the Southeast and Philadelphia. And last spring, Famous Toastery opened its very first Florida location in Jacksonville Beach and Virginia location in Loudon. New restaurants are also in the pipeline for New York and Colorado—previously untapped states. With plans to open an additional 10 new locations by the end of 2017, Panella has joined the team to help strategize franchise development and expansion into new markets.
“More and more people are starting to hear about us. People are learning about our genuine passion for better-breakfast and lunch, served up in a welcoming and friendly culture. When they find out what Famous Toastery has to offer, people are either going out of their way to dine with us, or they’re wondering what it’ll take to bring the brand straight to them,” said Robert Maynard, the founder and CEO of Famous Toastery. “That tells us that there’s a real need for Famous Toastery. Better breakfast is still an untapped market, and we have so much opportunity to broaden our already-tremendous following of loyal and regular customers by adding new locations across the country. With the help of Jeff Panella, we’re more confident than ever before that Famous Toastery is well on its way to becoming a nationwide brand.”
Panella brings with him decades of experience in franchise sales. Since 2005, he’s worked at Wireless Zone, first as the vice president of sales and operations, and later as the national vice president of business development. With his wealth of brand knowledge, Panella helped grow Wireless Zone’s franchise system through the addition of more than 200 locations to propel the brand into an even greater future.
Now, in his new role with Famous Toastery, Panella is eager to bring his experience to an emerging brand that’s on the cusp of nationwide expansion. Panella first learned about Famous Toastery while attending a franchise event. While there, he had the chance to meet Maynard, and after a few brief conversations, Panella was inspired by his vision and business acumen.
“Robert is an incredibly smart businessman. He understood the importance of creating a brand that was focused on atmosphere and experience. It was clear from the very beginning that Famous Toastery was truly an extension of his family—that’s how much he cares,” Panella said. “I have family that lives in Charlotte, so I talked to them about their familiarity with Famous Toastery—they all go there several times a week. I ended up trying it for myself and completely fell in love with everything it had to offer. So when the opportunity came my way to join Maynard’s team, I jumped at the chance.”
In particular, it’s the fact that Famous Toastery has pioneered the better-breakfast segment that excites him most about his new role.
“There’s such a limited choice when it comes to breakfast—it’s either the greasy spoon or the expensive five-star option. Then, there’s Famous Toastery. The brand’s dining experience feels like a five-star restaurant, but it’s a quarter of the price,” Panella said. “And from an investment standpoint, we’re truly far above the competition. Our food is prepared fresh and in-house every day. Our menu is unique, and boasts options beyond just scrambled eggs and pancakes. Our orange juice is all fresh squeezed. And the restaurants don’t have freezers or deep-fryers. You just don’t find that kind of commitment to really good food in the breakfast space.”
In the years ahead, Panella is targeting areas east of the Mississippi, Colorado, Kentucky, the Northeast and the areas in between for growth. And no matter how big or small the market, Panella is confident that Famous Toastery is a brand that can thrive just about anywhere. To do this, they’re targeting multi-unit expansion with the help of the right franchisees, and Panella believes that thanks to Famous Toastery’s strong support system and ongoing assistance, it’s a goal that’s well within sight.
“There’s a shift occurring lately in terms of what people look for when they’re dining out. People are shunning the idea of the greasy-spoon and artificial ingredients. Instead, they’re craving foods that are fresh and natural. They want meals that are made from scratch every single morning. We’re bringing that concept to the booming breakfast and brunch crowds, and we believe that our growth potential is currently unmatched,” Panella said. “From North Carolina to New York, people throughout the country all value those things—they want quality food without the pretention often seen in the brunch segment these days. And we’re excited to bring that option to them.”
About Famous Toastery
Famous Toastery’s story began in 2005 in Huntersville, N.C. in a small house-turned-restaurant where best friends Brian Burchill and Robert Maynard opened their first breakfast spot. News of their fresh-made breakfasts and fun atmosphere spread. The concept quickly grew to three locations, serving new and loyal clients dishes such as made-from-scratch banana and peanut butter stuffed French toast and avocado omelets. Never compromising fresh ingredients or friendly service, the demand for Toast kept growing. To satisfy its family of patrons’ pleas for more locations, Toast evolved into a franchise system in 2013. Dining customers always can expect impeccable service because at Toast, “every server is your server.” Breaking through the boring casual breakfast segment, Toast will continue spreading its success to new communities across the United States. For more information about Toast or to learn about franchising opportunities, please visit famoustoastery.com.
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