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The Days of the Chicken Sandwich Wars are Over — The Pancake Wars are Upon Us. Here’s Why Sunny Street Café is Winning

Through a combination of innovative flavor profiles, quality ingredients and a commitment to the guest experience, Sunny Street is inviting both customers and franchisees to partake in the joy of pancakes done right.

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

Sunny Street Café®, the 22-unit breakfast franchise, has thrown down the gauntlet on the breakfast category by creating a craveable point of differentiation with innovation in pancakes, igniting the pancake wars.

“Every breakfast restaurant can serve the basics well. We are focused on adding excitement to the breakfast menu through innovative and craveable pancakes,” said Mike Stasko Jr., president.

From PBJ Time to Banana Foster

The made-from-scratch menu includes famous “fancy pancake” staples, like the Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, featuring a caramelized cinna-sugar swirl, as well as limited-time seasonal offerings, like the Pumpkin Pancakes, topped with cinnamon butter and a tres leches drizzle.

"Our pancakes have always been the stars of our menu, and that is unique in the breakfast space," Stasko said. “When you’re doing a ‘wow’ dish, you can get a lot further if you’re willing to take the extra time and effort. It’s not easy to prepare things from scratch, but the product speaks for itself and creates those craveworthy items.”

The newest pancake offerings at Sunny Street Café are a prime examples of the type of flavors the team aims to create — pancakes that are as inventive as they are delicious. Among the standout offerings are:

  • PBJ Time pancakes, with peanut butter filling, berry compote and peanut butter mousse.
  • Chocolate Lava pancakes, complete with whipped chocolate ganache, Oreo crumbs, and dark chocolate sauce.
  • Bananas Foster pancakes, with sticky brown sugar glaze, homemade vanilla cream and candied walnuts.
  • Strawberry Shortcake pancakes, which feature macerated strawberries, whip, shortcake crumble and creme anglaise.

“These are knock-your-socks-off flavors,” said Stasko. “Trust me, I've been part of the testing group, and we put a lot of time into creating the best. These are pancakes that I would order for breakfast, and I’m not usually a pancake person, believe it or not. These are balanced, delicious and WOW flavors that you just can’t get elsewhere.”

How Sunny Street Café Stacks Up Against The Rest

What sets Sunny Street Café's pancakes apart isn't just the innovative flavors or the joy they bring to guests’ faces — it's also the meticulous attention to detail and the commitment to quality that goes into every stack. 

"Customers today have discerning tastes — they're looking for something unique, something they haven't seen before,” said Stasko. “Our focus is on meeting that demand with exceptional quality and creativity. It's the details, like the temperature of the buttermilk or the way it's ladled onto the grill, that ensure our pancakes are consistently superior."

And this approach includes a focus on both quality and quantity. "We're talking about pancake stacks that tower over the plate when served,” Stasko said. “It's about providing an experience that you can't replicate at home or find at any other restaurant.”

Sunny Street Café has also woven a family-friendly approach into the very fabric of their brand, and pancakes are no exception. Look no further than the dinosaur-shaped pancakes, for example, which children affectionately know and love as Dino Pancakes. 

"We create an environment that welcomes families, where kids and parents alike can enjoy a meal that's both delicious and fun,” said Stasko. “This focus has been a part of our DNA from the start."

Why Pancakes Are Good for Business

It's not just guests who are enjoying Sunny Street’s dedication to top-tier pancakes. Crafting amazing food from scratch is also a key ingredient in their recipe for franchisee success, Stasko says. 

“We saw pancakes as a real opportunity, and we wanted to fill the demand,” said Stasko. “When you have craveable items you can’t get elsewhere, with flavors that leave you drooling for more, it really drives folks into the restaurant. Plus, the profitability of these dishes are much greater compared to higher-cost protein items.”

And the numbers speak for themselves. Sunny Street Cafe saw near double digital sales increases in 2023 and achieved an impressive average unit volume (AUV) north of $1.2 million. “It's proof that when you put care into every aspect of the dining experience, from the food to the atmosphere, guests take notice," Stasko said. 

Now, for entrepreneurs who want to spread the joy of pancakes and beyond, Sunny Street Café is designed with all of the support, training and flexibility new franchisees need to get started and continue to scale their business.

With an investment range that’s competitive within the booming breakfast and brunch industry, Sunny Street Café presents an attractive path for entrepreneurs to build a legacy, both personally and financially. Better yet, with the new incentive program, the Sunny Street Café franchise fee is cut in half — now just $17,500, with 0% royalties at opening, ramped up through your first 18 months. This both lowers the barrier to entry and allows new franchisees to keep additional cash on hand for operations as they navigate the early days of ownership.

Sunny Street Café is currently expanding and is offering new franchise opportunities in places like Ohio, Missouri, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. 

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