FSR 50: Top 10 High-Performing Regional Chains
REGION: WESTERN U.S.
Twenty years after it opened a single restaurant in Mount Shasta in the very north end of California, Black Bear Diner has become a dominant brand in the western U.S. The company operated 67 units by the end of last year, up from 48 just three years ago. And Black Bear Diner has big plans for the future as well, projecting 78 units by the end of 2015 and 100 by 2018.
Doug Branigan, vice president of franchising for Black Bear Diner, views the chain as a hybrid. “We look at it as an upscale family-dining environment with a diner twist,” Branigan explains. “The restaurant is bear-themed, with a log cabin-inspired ambiance and home-cooked, home-style meals. … We want that friendly, small-town hospitality.”
Black Bear Diner hopes to expand east, either with company-owned stores or with the right franchise partner. Eight of the 11 locations opening in 2015 are franchises, three are company-owned, and all will be located in the western U.S.
TOTAL 2014 SALES: $152.5 MILLION
UNIT COUNT: 67