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How The Toasted Yolk Café Franchise Was Built to Grow

1851 Franchise spoke with Chris Milton, CEO of The Toasted Yolk, to learn about the brand’s journey through franchising.

The Toasted Yolk Café is a chain of fast-casual restaurants serving chef-inspired takes on breakfast and lunch dishes. The Houston-based chain brings experienced restaurant professionals and savvy business entrepreneurs the opportunity to operate a limited daypart concept (breakfast, lunch, brunch only) — with a difference.

Backed by years of experience in foodservice, and with multiple locations under its belt, The Toasted Yolk is committed to bringing a quality-focused mix of breakfast and lunch classics to the masses. Each menu item comes with a unique contemporary spin, and can be accompanied by a wide selection of beverages, including draft beers and a full wine list.

It all adds up to a breakfast lunch restaurant franchise concept – and opportunity – unlike any other. The fully-supported restaurant business model is designed for maximum bottom-line impact and growth, with both streamlined staffing needs and hours of operation.

Chris Milton, CEO of The Toasted Yolk spoke with 1851 Franchise to provide some more information on how the brand created this winning franchise opportunity.

1851 Franchise: When was your brand founded and what year did it begin to franchise? 

Chris Milton: We were founded in August of 2010 and we started to franchise in 2017.

1851: How long did it take to get to 10 units and other milestone numbers? 

Milton: It took us about nine years to get to 10 units open. We didn't get our second unit until four years after opening the first unit. Development wise, we've now reached 20 franchises sold this past year. 

1851: Were there any operational changes the leadership team had to make to help the brand grow faster? 

Milton: The biggest thing was bringing talented people onto the team and making sure we had the infrastructure to support the growth. For example, we brought on Franchise Foundry as our franchise development partner and focused on operational improvements such as an updated POS system, loyalty program, new menus and seasonal limited-time offerings to help increase revenue. 

1851: When was your biggest growth period and what helped cause that growth? 

Milton: The biggest growth period for us was from fall 2018 to mid-2019. That was when we opened our first flagship location with a new full-bar service prototype and things really took off. Having the right people in place and turning our restaurants over to full-bar service really helped us carve out a niche in the marketplace.

1851: How does your brand differentiate itself from the competition? 

Milton: The Toasted Yolk is not your typical breakfast restaurant — all our restaurants have a full bar and upbeat atmosphere. Plus, having both a full breakfast and lunch menu really makes us stand out.

1851: How many locations does your brand have today? 

Milton: To-date, there are six corporate locations in operation and seven franchises opened throughout the greater Houston area. This includes the two new locations — Cypress and Fulshear — that we just opened.

1851: How many locations are in development? 

Milton: There are 18 units in various stages of development under new franchise agreements and area development agreements.

1851: What resources do you have in place to help franchisees scale their business? 

Milton: For one, we have a great marketing and PR team. We also pull from great professionals all around the area that really help with the training and execution of our product. 

1851: What qualities does your ideal franchisee possess? 

Milton: We look for people that are passionate about our food. We want people to make money, but we don't want this to become a strictly monetary decision. We are looking for qualified franchise candidates that are excited about The Toasted York brand.