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How Modern Market Eatery Simplifies Franchise Operations

The innovative fast-casual restaurant concept can be run with a small team of hourly employees and no formal culinary training without compromising on high standards of food quality and cost efficiency.

Modern Market Eatery has carved a unique niche in the fast-casual dining sector by delivering a high-quality, made-from-scratch menu in an operationally efficient and cost-effective manner. The franchise's success lies in its streamlined processes, strategic menu engineering and innovative kitchen design, making it an attractive opportunity for potential franchisees.

“When people experience our concept for the first time, they see all of our offerings and wonder: How do they do it all? It must be expensive and complicated,” said Nate Weir, vice president of culinary at Modern Restaurant Concepts. “But behind the scenes, we’ve engineered our recipes and our operations in a way that ensures franchisees can execute on the business easily and cost-effectively. That is really the secret sauce of Modern Market.”

Labor Efficiency and Kitchen Design

To start, Modern Market's operational model is designed to minimize labor costs without sacrificing quality. The kitchen setup allows for most tasks to be handled by hourly employees with basic training. 

“In almost all of our restaurants, we only need one prep cook, maybe two,” Weir said. “Staff is coming in daily for a six-to-eight-hour shift, where they can execute all the prep for the entire restaurant.”

The latest prototype features a double-sided make line, where all menu items except pizzas are prepared. This design facilitates cross-training among employees, ensuring flexibility and consistency. 

“In essence, your team members are trained on the entire menu,” said Weir. “If you work at that station, you know how to make everything. You don’t have to train one salad cook and one sandwich cook, for example.”

The compact kitchen setup is the engine of a restaurant which can operate in as little as 2,000 square feet. Modern Market's use of combi ovens and food processors eliminates the need for traditional ovens, exhaust hoods, microwaves and grills, reducing equipment costs and maintenance.

Modern Market's strategic alignment with its parent company, Modern Restaurant Concepts, which also owns Qdoba, provides significant advantages in supply chain management as well. This relationship allows Modern Market to leverage the buying power of an 800-restaurant chain, resulting in lower prices and simplified supplier relationships. 

Innovative Menu Engineering

One of the core elements that make Modern Market Eatery easy to operate is its innovative approach to menu design. By focusing on made-from-scratch ingredients, the franchise maintains high-quality standards while keeping food costs manageable. 

“Believe it or not, our higher-quality ingredients actually save us money,” said Weir. “Our scratch-made philosophy is not only central to our brand identity but also crucial for maintaining cost efficiency.”

This approach involves using core ingredients across multiple menu items. For example, ingredients used in sandwiches are also utilized in grain bowls and salads, maximizing efficiency and minimizing waste. 

“Our cheese pizza, for instance, has food costs under 20%, which helps offset higher-cost items like salads. Every aspect of our menu is designed to be both customer-pleasing and cost-efficient,” said Weir.

A Modern Approach

Overall, Modern Market Eatery is designed for today's fast-casual dining landscape, offering a chef-inspired menu without the high operational complexity typical of similar concepts. 

“We are a fast-casual franchise built specifically for today,” Weir said. “We have a chef-inspired menu with something for everyone, but we don’t have to make cost sacrifices for our franchisees. We are offering that scratch-made food that consumers want, and we’ve figured out how to do it in a real, repeatable and consistent fast-casual setting. That is what sets us up for success in the future.”

With an eye on expansion and a commitment to its core values, Modern Market Eatery is poised for continued growth. For entrepreneurs passionate about food, sustainability and community, joining the Modern Market franchise represents a unique opportunity to be part of a brand that is redefining the fast-casual dining experience.

The estimated initial investment ranges between $928,500 and $1.5 million for a single Modern Market Eatery restaurant. The 18 company-owned Modern Market restaurants open for the fiscal year of 2023 saw an impressive AUV of $2.3 million.*

*More details are available in Modern Market Eatery’s Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD).

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