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How Sunny Street Café Achieved Its Impressive $1.2 Million AUV

With a simple operational model, low prime costs and a devoted following, the brand is paving the way for investors to thrive in the dynamic and rewarding breakfast and lunch segment.

By Luca Piacentini1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSOREDUpdated 5:17PM 04/12/24

Sunny Street Café®, the 22-restaurant better breakfast franchise, is distinguished not only by its delectable menu for customers, but also by its robust investment opportunity for franchisees. With a reported average unit volume (AUV) of $1.266 million across 12 franchise restaurants and the highest unit soaring to $1.633 million, it's clear that Sunny Street Café is dishing out impressive financial returns for its franchisees.

"We're driving top-line sales through a variety of strategies, including doubling down on innovation with pancakes, while maintaining best-in-class prime costs," said President Mike Stasko Jr. “That has resulted in a record-breaking AUV that we’re very proud of this year.”

Now, as Sunny Street Café gears up for nationwide franchise expansion, here is a deeper look into how it’s achieving these impressive results for its owners. 

Low Costs, High Returns and Happy Guests

At the heart of Sunny Street Café's financial performance is a meticulously crafted business model that prioritizes operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. 

"We are confident that our prime costs are among the best in the breakfast segment,” said Sunny Street Café CEO Scott Moffitt. “This is essential to us perfecting the business model to align with our franchise growth plans." 

This focus on prime costs — the sum of food, beverage and labor expenses — is a cornerstone of the brand's strategy to maximize profitability while delivering high-quality dining experiences.

“We are leveraging buyer relationships, negotiating good contracts and really fine-tuning the model,” said Stasko. “We own 10 of the 22 restaurants, so we have a vested interest in driving food costs down, not only for franchisees but for ourselves. That's pretty unique. As a result, we’ve seen our lowest food and labor costs in the history of the company this year — which is certainly not an industry-wide trend.”

Another key to Sunny Street Café's financial success, Stasko says, is its simplified operational model. With stores only open from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., for example, both franchisees and staff members can reap the lifestyle benefits that come along with the business. 

"The breakfast daypart is operationally streamlined, with one-shift staffing that fosters a desirable work-life balance for our team members,” said Stasko. “This not only contributes to remarkably low turnover rates compared to the rest of the industry, but also allows us to maintain high levels of service and customer satisfaction. We are obviously doing something right because we aren’t struggling on guest count like other folks are.” 

Another bit of icing on the (pan)cake, Stasko says, is the brand’s unique, full-service breakfast catering program. He says that successful off-premises operations can contribute up to 25% of total sales, with mature catering programs accounting for upwards of 20% of that figure.

“We started with an in-store menu that naturally lent itself well to off-premise catering,” said Stasko. “That gave us a great backbone to build the program. From there we expanded to accommodate larger groups, everything from recipes, prep and holding, to packaging that was cost effective and made for a great presentation of the food.” 

Lastly, of course, is the brand’s made-from-scratch menu, which brings guests back time and time again. This includes its famous fancy pancakes and limited-time seasonal offerings, like the highly anticipated Pumpkin Pancakes, topped with cinnamon butter and a tres leches drizzle. Supplemented with lite bites, omelets, combos and more, the Sunny Street Café menu has something for everyone. 

Why Now Is the Time To Invest in Sunny Street Café

The initial investment to start a Sunny Street Café ranges from $464,545 to $1,307,514. The brand's investment appeal is further enhanced by a franchisee incentive program designed to lower entry barriers and support new franchisees through their initial operational phase. By halving the franchise fee and offering graduated royalty rates, Sunny Street Café demonstrates a commitment to fostering franchisee success.

Furthermore, the company's decision to offer exclusive, multi-store territories underscores its strategic approach to growth and franchisee support. This, combined with the direct involvement of the leadership team in restaurant operations, ensures that franchisees benefit from a system that is as efficient as it is profitable.

As the breakfast and lunch franchise sector continues to evolve, Sunny Street Café's impressive AUV figures, combined with its focused approach to operational excellence and cost management, position it as an attractive option for investors

“People want to add this daypart to their portfolio and — given our continued growth, focus on controlled expansion and the introduction of exciting new stores — now is the perfect time for investors to join us at the ground floor,” said Stasko. “Our model is a fit for those looking to build a legacy within the breakfast and lunch segment."

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