While Greenville’s Bacon Bros. Public House is still saddling up for its franchise expansion into Houston, this week the farm-to-table gastropub announced a new partnership that will put a bakery, butchery and diner right off the Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail.
Thanks to a partnership with nonprofit Feed & Seed, also headquartered in Greenville, Bacon Bros. will run the three entities at The Commons, a new marketplace planned for 159 Welborn St., adjacent to the trail.
Feed & Seed plans to occupy 12,000 square feet at The Commons, creating a wholesale environment for regional farmers, director Mike McGirr told UBJ. Feed & Seed will purchase from the farmers and then distribute to local purveyors – including restaurants such as Bacon Bros.
“A butchery has always in the plans for us as we expanded our brand,” said Jason Callaway of Bacon Bros. “Partnering with Feed & Seed feels like a very natural next step for Bacon Bros. in Greenville, and we are excited to share the food hub with the community.”
From the butcher shop, Bacon Bros. will source their local meats to their franchises so that they can distribute their own products.
The food hub facility is slated to open in April 2017. Also included at the location will be a café run by Due South Coffee, the second location of The Community Tap and the customer-facing arm of the Feed & Seed.
“What is unique to and what drew me to Bacon Bros. is that their business plan was modeled specifically on seasonal, whole-animal sourcing,” said McGirr. “They represent the next wave of restaurant culture in the Southeast, one that is turning back to a rich heritage of local agriculture with a keen sense of responsibility to the community and its resources.”
Bound for Texas
Bacon Bros. has also created a franchise model for Southeast expansion after two years of traveling customers begging to bring the restaurant closer to home.
One of those travelers, Travis Cook, is set to open the Greenville-based restaurant’s first franchise in Houston. The Texas native was traveling to Asheville for work and found the dining spot on Yelp. He did his research and found the Bacon Bros. franchise model online and reached out to them to open his own location.
The opening isn’t quite that simple, through. The “brothers” want to be sure that their franchises are are all locally sourced and up to the original location’s standards. Callaway’s first trip to Texas was scouting locations for the new restaurant but also visiting local farms to make sure they would have good, local resources.
“We want our franchise to purchase as much as they can locally and be a huge boost to the community,” he said.
“We’re changing the franchise model, and that’s scary. But we’re also pulling it off,” says Bacon Brothers Food Group CFO Mike Porter.
Once the location and farms are decided upon, franchisees will train in Greenville for six weeks to learn food preparation and butcher practices. After the training is completed, the Bacon Bros. operations team will frequent the location to see where the franchisee could use help and make sure the business is running smoothly. The menus change quarterly, and Bacon Bros. will provide in-house training for each new menu.
Franchises are also in the works in North Carolina and Georgia.