Modern Market Eatery Drives-Thru Launch Accelerates Growth in the Face of Franchising Expansion

Modern Market Eatery Drives-Thru Launch Accelerates Growth in the Face of Franchising Expansion

Modern Market Eatery opens its first drive-thru as the parent firm keeps funding the expansion of franchising

With a drive-thru style, Modern Market Eatery is positioning itself to expand through franchising.

The first drive-thru location of the Denver-based fast-casual restaurant, which also offers dine-in, opened last week. In addition to serving the brand’s entire from-scratch menu, the restaurant has a Mini Market section with goods including chocolates, coffees, and brand products made locally.

Additionally, this unit is the third in the 30-unit chain to include a double-sided makeline, which is intended to increase throughput and service speed.

“This will be the first of many drive-thru locations we anticipate developing over the coming years to provide an even more efficient service model to handle the increasing volume of take-out orders,” said co-founder and president Rob McColgan in a statement.

After being purchased by the Los Angeles-based private equity firm Butterfly Equity in 2018, Modern Market Eatery joined with Lemonade to become Modern Restaurant Concepts (MRC), the parent company. Along with acquiring Qdoba, a fast-casual Mexican restaurant chain, last year, MRC also hired John Cywinski, a former president of Applebee’s, to serve as CEO.

In order to concentrate on Qdoba and Modern Market, MRC sold the 20-unit Lemonade during the previous year. In addition, the company introduced Modern Market to franchising. A franchisee was brought in, and over the following four years, he wants to open 41 more Modern Market Eateries after purchasing three corporate locations.

Additionally, this year, MRC refranchised roughly 120 Qdoba locations that it controlled, increasing its franchise mix to roughly 80%. With a long-term goal of roughly 1,500 locations, Cywinski intends to proceed with a more asset-light franchising model, stating that the 750-unit Qdoba may double its unit count.

He said that Qdoba will undergo some trimming this year, with roughly 15 underperforming stores scheduled to close in the 2023 fiscal year and an additional 10 in 2024.

Qdoba’s same-store sales increased by 6% for MRC’s fiscal year that ended on October 1st, but the firm did not disclose how traffic contributed to those sales results.

Butterfly announced this week the completion of a $305 million corporate securitization via Qdoba Funding LLC. The proceeds from the transaction will be utilized to finance investments in projects like the renovation of 80 company units and the installation of digital menu boards in 150 locations, among other things.


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