Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

SEP 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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94 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • SEPTEMBER 2017 RISING ROLL GOURMET CAFÉ Off the Shelf and On the Move F ounded in 1996 as Uptown Gourmet, a popular inde- pendent sandwich shop in a converted bank in Atlanta, Rising Roll Gourmet Café has taken a slow, steady and strategic approach to growth. CEO Mike Lassiter, a franchising veteran who bought into the company in 2003 and purchased it outright in 2007, has success- fully established a scalable brand identity. He steered it through recessionary waters and rocky real estate mar- kets by focusing primarily on nontraditional markets, where it has flourished and where he has refined the brand and primed the pump for growth. Nineteen units are now open, mostly in Class A office buildings, in hospitals and on college campuses in Georgia, Florida, Texas and Virginia. Lassiter is now geared up to introduce the brand in a more widespread and visible way through franchising in traditional segments as well. "When we initially started franchising in 2003, we sold four or five right out of the shoot, but then we stopped," Lassiter says. "We realized that we had work to do to convert a mom- and-pop operation into a franchise organization. We needed systems and a good operations manual. Then, in 2007, the economy tanked and the original owners RISING ROLL GOURMET CAFÉ SNAPSHOT HQ: Atlanta Concept: Fast casual, gourmet sandwich Founded: 1996 No. of Units: 19 Ownership: CEO Mike Lassiter Expansion Markets: Southeastern states, Texas Franchising: Yes Services: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, takeout, delivery, catering; many nontraditional units Monday-Friday only Average Unit Size: 2,100 square feet/42 seats for traditional locations Average Kitchen Size: 65 percent of total, including service counter/front deli case Average Check: $9.60 Average Unit Volume: $750,000-$800,000 Average Kitchen Equipment Package: $110,000-$150,000 Mission-Critical Equipment: Grill, double-stack convection oven, slicers, panini press Rising Roll kitchens are large. Includ- ing the counter, meal assembly areas and behind-the-scenes prep and storage, they comprise 65 to 70 per- cent of an average store's footprint. Photos courtesy of Rising Roll 7 EMERGING CHAINS

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