In this exclusive Q&A, we talk with Paul Macaluso, the CEO of Another Broken Egg Cafe, about the company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Franchise Chatter (FC): You are an industry veteran. Tell us a little about what drew you to your current role at Another Broken Egg Cafe.
Paul Macaluso (PM): I was drawn to Another Broken Egg Cafe because it’s an innovative concept in one of the fastest growing segments of the restaurant industry. We are about celebrating indulgence through the finest, high-quality ingredients and spirits. Our executive vice president of culinary, Chef Jason Knoll, does an exceptional job at curating our breakfast, brunch and lunch menus to showcase unique flavors with a southern twist that you simply can’t get anywhere else. We are unapologetic about our flavors, and you can taste the quality in each bite.
I’ve been with Another Broken Egg Cafe for about a year and a half and have helped navigate our brand through COVID-19. Key to that survival for our system was our New Dawn Plan, which allowed us to take urgent and decisive action to execute sales building, cost savings and reopening support. Despite a system-wide closure at the onset of the pandemic, we finished the year strong with several months of positive comps. That momentum has continued into 2021.
FC: How large is the Another Broken Egg system now and what are your plans for growth?
PM: We are headquartered in Orlando, and most of our current 70+ open locations are in the Southeast. We are looking to grow significantly over the next few years with plans to reach 300 locations (125 open and 175 in the pipeline), and there are a number of target markets on our radar in 2021. We’ve already opened new locations in Orlando, Florida; Cincinnati, Ohio; Westlake, Ohio; and Bossier City, Louisiana; with up to 14 more cafes opening this year.
We have also signed development agreements to open an additional 14 units in future years. One of the development agreements we just finalized is with multi-unit Tropical Smoothie franchisee, Amazing Brandz. They’re planning to open three Another Broken Egg Cafe locations in West Florida, with the first opening later this year.
The new company and franchised cafes that we are opening incorporate our new bar-forward design. The layout of the restaurant has been completely reconfigured to showcase the “theatre” of the bar – everything from beverage prep to creation is on full display. Creating cocktails is truly an art form, and we’re excited for more of our guests around the country to enjoy the experience.
FC: What would you say are your brand’s biggest differentiators for prospective franchisees looking to invest?
PM: The full-service breakfast, brunch and lunch segment is one of the fastest-growing in the country. Our growing AUV, strong ROI and creative menu makes us an attractive investment opportunity for foodservice operators, but I would add some other points to our list as well.
One is alcohol, which continues to drive check averages and profitability to new heights for us. In fact, our alcohol sales have grown from 4% of total sales in 2016 to almost 13% of total sales in 2020. This has a lot to do with our new design and more bar-forward approach that I just mentioned.
We also have experienced and dedicated bartenders at each restaurant who prepare each cocktail beverage with thoughtfully curated ingredients and infused, seasonal flavors that are specifically created to pair well with our entrées.
Another point of differentiation is our limited hours of operations, which are from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day. We like to say our limited hours mean you can maximize your life! Because we are only open for breakfast and lunch, our one-shift operation simplifies the ability to recruit more talented employees and management and yields lower turnover.
FC: What was the biggest change to your business over the past year in response to the pandemic?
PM: COVID-19 has obviously greatly impacted the restaurant industry in many challenging ways, but it also forced us to get creative and find success in new areas. Our ability to pivot to off-premises and develop creative ways to package our menu items is a major reason for our success over the last several months.
Prior to the pandemic, our off-premises sales were only at 2%. We had already made some necessary investments in more secure and durable take-out packaging, so when COVID-19 hit and demand for off-premise quickly accelerated, we were prepared. Now, our off-premises sales have increased to more than 15%, and the updated packaging has clearly helped to ensure our food quality remains intact.
People really do crave our food, and they are eager to shake things up when it comes to ordering out or dining in. Delivery, online ordering and curbside pickup will continue to be a big piece of our business this year.
FC: Tell us more about your off-premise success and your plans to move it forward.
PM: We’ll need to keep focusing on innovation to ensure our traditional full-service in-restaurant dining experience translates efficiently outside the four walls. One way we’re doing that is by adding “to-go specialists” at some of our locations to improve operational efficiency.
We’re also hyper-focused on enhancing our consumer digital and mobile experience. Many of our guests are choosing to avoid third-party service fees by ordering directly through our website and app. We have four pillars of tech – infrastructure, security, development and data – that keep us organized, allowing us to quickly scale online ordering and ensure our corporate stores and franchised locations are up-to-speed.
Additionally, we do have partnerships with Uber Eats and DoorDash, and some of our guests have chosen to order through those platforms.
FC: An additional revenue stream for you is catering. Tell us how you’re leaning in there.
PM: Many of our breakfast, brunch and lunch options are available via our catering platform. Fans of Another Broken Egg Cafe can enjoy favorites like our Shrimp ‘N Grits and Scramblers at home or in the office with servings for 10. Of course, catering is often determined by group size, which has diminished during the pandemic. Nonetheless, we are still seeing catering orders at our locations.
We are confident that our catering orders will rise as things continue to safely open and we progress through and ultimately out of the pandemic.
FC: If someone is interested in franchising with Another Broken Egg Café, where can they go for more information?
PM: Interested candidates should review our franchise website at anotherbrokeneggfranchise.com to get to know us a bit more and determine if together we will make a great team. On the site you will find useful information that will answer many of your initial questions about Another Broken Egg Cafe. Jeff Sturgis, our Chief Development Officer, may be reached at 954-205-7351 or email@example.com.