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Bob & Edith’s Diner to franchise. It’s the same size today that Five Guys was when it blew up.

Jan 24, 2020

Bob and Ediths dinner exterior

Northern Virginia dining staple Bob & Edith’s Diner is recruiting investors to open franchise locations across the country.

The chain, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in November, is looking to open franchises first in the D.C. area and in North Carolina, and then in the Mid-Atlantic and SoutheastBob & Edith’s is partnering with Alexandria-based franchise development group Fransmart, which has helped concepts such as Five Guys Burger & Fries and Qdoba Mexican Grill expand nationally.

“Much like when we first expanded [Five] Guys and would go near McDonald’s/Wendy’s and enjoy a base of customers in search of a better experience, we will locate in dense markets that already have Denny’s/IHOP and offer a better experience,” Dan Rowe, CEO of Fransmart, said in an email to the Washington Business Journal.

To open a Bob & Edith’s franchise, investors must have a net worth of at least $1 million, $500,000 of liquid capital and be ready to begin development within the next three to six months— with the goal of opening the first franchises by the third quarter. In addition to a $50,000 franchise fee, investors must also be ready to develop a minimum of five units (restaurants) in a major U.S. area. The start up costs for a multiunit location will run between $817,700 and $1,212,100, per Fransmart.

In return, Bob & Edith’s has committed to help with real estate and site selection, store build-out, training systems, operations, recipe and menu development, marketing and vendor selection.

The time from submitting an inquiry to becoming a franchisee should be approximately 30 days. Bob & Edith’s Diner says it has already garnered the interest of brokerages such as CBRE Group Inc. (NYSE: CBRE).

“This is the perfect tenant right now — it’s small, does high volume, and they love conversions, which keeps their opening costs down,” Lee Engle, retail strategist at CBRE, said in a statement. “On top of that, this is a brand that should get tenant improvement allowances from landlords.”

Engle added that Bob & Edith’s is the same size today as Five Guys was when it started to expand through franchising. There are now more than 1,500 Five Guys locations worldwide, the company says, with 1,500 more units in development.

Bob & Edith’s locations are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Its four locations are all in Northern Virginia — the original on Columbia Pike, in Springfield, Huntington and Crystal City — with a fifth scheduled to open in Arlington later this year. The family-run business is now owned by Bob and Edith Bolton’s son, Greg Bolton, and managed by their grandchildren, Tammy and Chris Bolton.

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