GREENWICH, Conn. -- A Southern-based breakfast restaurant chain is looking to butter up its business by opening a new location in Greenwich.
Famous Toastery, a small but growing restaurant chain based in Charlotte, N.C., is planning to establish Greenwich as its beachhead in the competitive Fairfeld County market.
Its CEO and founding partner Robert Maynard is enthusiastic about entering the market and said it's one that is ready for the restaurant's emphasis on fresh products.
"We are the antithesis of the greasy spoon. We go over and above to make sure everything is fresh," Maynard said.
Maynard, who was raised in the Bronx, N.Y., until he moved with his family to Long Island at the age of 10, is a New Yorker through and through. He moved to New York City in his early 20s, where he carved out a career in the hedge fund industry.
Being a New Yorker means he loves food, including hanging out at diners, Maynard said. In 2005, Brian Burchill, a friend who had moved to North Carolina and who had been in the restaurant business for years, asked Maynard to consider joining him.
Maynard said it was crazy, but Burchill sent him round trip tickets, and set him up with a car and a hotel room, which swayed Maynard into taking the trip.
Once he was there, Burchill told him about the untapped market for a "better breakfast" style of restaurant. Maynard was sold on the idea and left the hedge fund world behind to plunge into the restaurant business.
They purchased an existing restaurant in Huntersville, N.C., and quickly saw that they were on to something good.
"The previous owners would have 50 customers on a Sunday. Within a year, we were getting 500 customers on a Sunday, and people were lined up out the door," said Maynard, who moved to North Carolina eight months ago.
Price is always a consideration, he said, and customers have come to appreciate them.
"People aren't going to buy a $30 breakfast, or maybe just once a year, but they want to eat something that is prepared fresh," Maynard said. "We can give you two lobster rolls for $16.99. These are lobsters that were caught in the water on Tuesday and we serve them to you the next day. That's a really good deal."
He said they rely on fresh products, clean restaurants and fast service to attract and keep customers.
The partners have expanded to six locations in North Carolina and South Carolina and are looking to expand to 15, with one in Greenwich, by the end of the year. But finding the right locations takes time, he said.
"Real estate is starting to heat up; deals are taking a little bit longer. It used to take us two weeks to find a location two to three years ago but now is taking longer," Maynard said.
They are in talks with possible franchisees in Greenwich, but if they don't find a right match, Maynard said they will open the restaurant on their own.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.