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Bob and Edith’s Plotting Nationwide Expansion

First Lee Highway, then the world.

That’s the plan for Bob and Edith’s Diner, which just announced its intention to grow from a small regional chain to a nationwide — and perhaps international — juggernaut via franchising.

Calling the 24-hour, family-run greasy spoon “iconic” and “a favorite among celebrities, athletes, politicians and secret service officials,” Alexandria-based franchising company Fransmart says the humble B&E’s brand is “perfectly positioned for rapid growth.”

“It’s small, does high volume, and they love conversions, which keeps their opening costs down,” a retail strategist is quoted as saying, in a press release (below). “On top of that, this is a brand that should get tenant improvement allowances from landlords. It is an iconic brand that just hit four locations and is the same size as Five Guys Burgers & Fries when they started to expand.”

Five Guys, of course, started as a single location on Columbia Pike in Arlington, before expanding to more than 1,500 locations worldwide. Bob and Edith’s also started on Columbia Pike, celebrating its 50th anniversary on the Pike this year.

Before it conquers the rest of the U.S., Bob and Edith’s plans to open its new Lee Highway location this spring. It has existing locations on the Pike and in Crystal City, Springfield and Huntington.

More from the press release:

Bob & Edith’s Diner, an iconic Washington, D.C., eatery beloved by celebrities and locals alike, today announced it is now franchising with the help of Fransmart, the industry-leading franchise development company. Bob & Edith’s Diner is working with Fransmart to find experienced franchisees who will drive the concept’s next phase of growth, and introduce its beloved comfort food to new markets across North America – starting with Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina.

“With its stellar reputation and iconic status, this concept is going to go fast,” said Dan Rowe, CEO of Fransmart. “There is very little competition – and therefore huge potential – in the diner space, and Bob & Edith’s format is perfectly positioned for rapid growth.”

Famously open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Bob & Edith’s Diner has been a D.C.-area favorite since 1969, when Robert and Edith Bolton opened the doors of their first location. Originally a 10-stool counter, the diner expanded over the years in response to overwhelming consumer demand and now operates four locations throughout Arlington, Crystal City, Alexandria, and Springfield, Virginia. A fifth location is opening in Arlington in 2020. The family-run business is now owned by their son, Greg Bolton, and managed by their grandchildren, Tammy and Chris Bolton.

“We want to make sure that each customer feels welcomed – that’s why we have so many regulars who have been coming here since 1970. And who doesn’t want breakfast all day?” said Bob & Edith’s Diner Owner Gregory Bolton. “Building on a strong, 50-year reputation, we believe Bob & Edith’s can be successful anywhere in the world. We are confident that Fransmart will be a strategic partner in helping us find highly motivated franchisees who share our passion for good food, and will help us expand into new markets.”

No stranger to high-profile guests walking through its doors, Bob & Edith’s Diner is also a favorite among celebrities, athletes, politicians and secret service officials. The concept has already grabbed the interest of brokerages, including Retail Strategist Lee Engle at CBRE.

“This is the perfect tenant right now – it’s small, does high volume, and they love conversions, which keeps their opening costs down,” Engle said. “On top of that, this is a brand that should get tenant improvement allowances from landlords. It is an iconic brand that just hit four locations and is the same size as Five Guys Burgers & Fries when they started to expand.”

To learn more about Bob & Edith’s Diner franchising opportunities, please visit fransmart.com/Bob&EdithsInquiry.

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