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Why Famous Toastery Slowed Down Franchise Growth

Prospective franchisee candidates concerned about the pause in franchise development have nothing to worry about — the team was busy building a better support infrastructure.

Famous Toastery is a 25+ unit better breakfast, brunch and lunch franchise located all over the Southeast. Over the past year, Famous Toastery has been emphasizing a new mantra of “be famous,” perfecting a business model that encourages franchisees to quickly become locally famous as pillars of their communities and providing not only famously fresh food made daily but a hub for friends, families and neighbors to come together. This all-out brand refresh — which included new additions to the leadership team, a new menu and store remodel, updated cost efficiencies and increased franchisee support — meant actual franchise growth had to slow down for a little while. Now, the Famous Toastery team is ready to put the pedal to the floor and introduce its new-and-improved franchise opportunity to more entrepreneurs across the country.

“We were signing a lot of franchisees up until the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Famous Toastery VP of Franchise Development Eric Gustafsson. “Obviously, that put a pause on our growth, as it did for all businesses. But once we started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, we realized this downtime could be a blessing, and we had an opportunity to give Famous Toastery a second life.” 

To start, Gustafsson says Famous Toastery set out to fill vacant positions on the leadership team and build out the franchisee support infrastructure. Michael Mabry joined Famous Toastery’s executive team as President in November 2021, bringing over 30 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, working in roles from line cook to Chief Operating Officer to President. The Famous Toastery team also promoted Lorna Martinez as Director of Marketing; Jude Colangelo as CFO; and Jennifer Brule as Chief Culinary Officer.

“Having the right team in place is one of the main building blocks of selling franchises,” said Gustafsson. “We really kicked that off in the Fall of last year with the hiring of Michael, and we have continued through this year with new corporate hires.” 

Additionally, Famous Toastery rolled out a revamped menu and a new “famously fresh” tagline. As part of this new strategy, Famous Toastery is introducing several new menu items created from feedback taken by customers, including a protein power bowl, shrimp and grits and Nutella toast, as well as a first-of-a-kind partnership with North Carolina-based Abby’s Better Nut Butter for another new toast option. 

Recently, the Famous Toastery team also set out to revamp and reopen their flagship Davidson, North Carolina location. Here, the team was able to test out new cost efficiencies and improvements to the business model, as well as outline a new-and-improved look for all stores in the system. 

“That really taught us about how we can save costs and optimize what we have done in the past,” Gustafsson said. “For example, are there ways to set up a kitchen operationally that makes it cheaper to build out? Do we have national contracts with vendors that can provide us with equipment to keep costs down? The Davidson remodel allowed us to answer a lot of those questions and allowed us to develop a model to use going forward.”

Now, with all of these new pieces in place to support franchisees, Gustafsson says the team is ready to sell some franchises and expand with additional locations. 

“We want to do this in a smart way — we don’t want to sell 100 units but only open 20,” said Gustafsson. “We want to grow strategically throughout the Carolinas and expand out from there in the Southeast. Overall, our recent slowdown in growth came down to getting the building blocks and foundation of the company strong post-pandemic. Now that we’ve done that, it's time to bring Famous Toastery to new communities everywhere.”

The cost to open a Famous Toastery franchise ranges from $575,500 to $999,500, including a franchise fee starting at $45,000. To learn about franchising opportunities, please visit