The Fast Casual Brand Targets Major Expansion with a Goal to Sign 100 New Locations by 2028
Protein Bar & Kitchen plans to add 100 good-for-you, protein-powered restaurants across the United States within the next five years. Franchisees who sign with the fast-casual brand are drawn to its ultra-loyal customer base as well as its average unit volume (AUV) of a smidge under $1.2 million per year.
The brand’s timing for growth aligns squarely with Americans’ dietary preferences over the past five years. A vast majority of consumers – 93% – have stated that they want to eat healthfully at least some of the time, and 63% attempt to eat nutritiously at most or every meal, according to an L.E.K. Consulting survey of almost 1,600 consumers.
Customizable Menu, Inclusive Options
Chicago-based Protein Bar & Kitchen was ahead of the curve with its emphasis on protein. The 14-year-old brand is known for its customizable menu as well as customer-pleasing tech innovations. Food offerings range from protein shakes and smoothies, breakfast scrambles, salads, wraps and bowls, all of which can be tailored to the customer’s dietary needs and wants. The menu has 15-plus protein options with flavors and ingredients rotating seasonally to continually tantalize customers. Customers may drop in for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
“Everyone, and I mean everyone, can enjoy a Protein Bar & Kitchen meal and snacks,” says CEO and President Jeff Drake. “The Protein Bar & Kitchen menu offers familiar flavors but lightens them up, sometimes reducing the calorie count by as much as half. There’s something delicious for every taste, lifestyle or background. We’re totally inclusive. Our menu can accommodate virtually all dietary restrictions and diet choices – gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, keto-friendly, low-carb, high-carb or paleo-friendly. To franchisees, this means that our inclusivity will open their doors to a wide variety of customers.”
Appeal for Protein Bar & Kitchen Franchisees
Customers can place orders in-store, online or via the Protein Bar & Kitchen app, which has 125,000 users (a number that’s increasing daily!) who earn loyalty rewards. The franchise’s state-of-the-art technology ensures order accuracy and reduced wait times. Customers may dine in, take their food with them or have it delivered via third-party services. Catering is another revenue stream for franchisees.
Also appealing for franchisees is Protein Bar & Kitchen’s new franchise model restaurant that offers a smaller footprint while maximizing the efficiency of food preparation. Kitchen equipment is minimized because no fryers, grills and gas are needed, and the model is designed for low build-out costs.
Protein Bar & Kitchen invested years of planning to develop this new restaurant model. “We concentrated on rethinking and perfecting this model while for Covid-19 to subside. And now, with the worst of the pandemic in the rearview mirror, we’ve resumed and relaunched franchising,” says Drake, who was hired in 2017 to elevate the brand experience and expand Protein Bar & Kitchen.
Increasing Brand Awareness
Franchisees will further benefit from Protein Bar & Kitchen leaders’ efforts to increase brand awareness among consumers. One thrust is licensing agreements placing Protein Bar & Kitchen restaurants in Chicago (O’Hare), New York (La Guardia) and Salt Lake City airports. Hospitals and campuses also have given Protein Bar & Kitchen a thumbs-up at bustling corporate-owned sites in Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago and at Northwestern University’s sports pavilion in Evanston, Ill.
“Everything has synced up to ensure franchisees’ success,” Drake says. “We have fantastic customer loyalty rates and AUVs. Cloud-based training and support for team members ensures a collaborative work environment and premium customer service. We tweak our menu regularly – something we’ll always be doing – to ensure great flavor while always meeting diverse nutritional demands. We’ve come up with an interior design that’s bright and updated. Our ordering platforms are easy and convenient to use. All of these factors combine to give us a leg up in the marketplace as Protein Bar & Kitchen adds franchisees.”
Simplifying operations for ease of use by guests, managers, owners and team members has been a priority for us as we scale for growth.Jared Cohen, COO
Protein Bar & Kitchen’s Growth Strategy
After proving itself with 14 years of success in the fast-casual, good-for-you sphere, the Protein Bar & Kitchen brand has big plans for carefully managed growth. Illinois and adjacent states are the first areas targeted for expansion. After that, the Protein Bar & Kitchen franchise will cast its eye toward the Southeastern United States.
Protein Bar & Kitchen has refined every aspect of its operation to lay a rock-solid foundation for continued success. “Simplifying operations for ease of use by guests, managers, owners and team members has been a priority for us as we scale for growth,” says Chief Operating Officer Jared Cohen. For more information about franchise opportunities with Protein Bar & Kitchen, please visit www.theproteinbar.com/franchise/.