PA Business Profiles: Bryn & Dane’s – The Future of Fast FoodJon Steiert
No generation has changed the way that commerce works as much as millennials since the generation of people that adopted paper money. Industries are being wholly reshaped by the buying habits and trends of the youngest adult generation. In 2017, we have likely only reached the tip of the iceberg as more economic shake-ups are bound to occur more often.
For businesses created in the past few years and new startups, the industry-wide changes are an opportunity. For those businesses that have already existed for some time, these new trends can present a large challenge.
The American food industry has been subject to change for quite some time now. As new culture’s foods grow increasingly popular, the old guard pizza and burger shops have to contend with stiffer competition and the more diverse tastes of patrons. Similarly, America’s decades-old fast food franchises market share are no longer guaranteed as new quick and healthy options begin to encroach on their once sovereign space.
Enter Fast Healthy
As the American palate expands, so too does its interest in healthier food options. Where health food stalwarts like Whole Foods offer exceptional quality at a premium price, interest in healthy alternatives that are affordable and convenient continues to grow.
The market clamors for something to fill the void between McDonald’s and the organic grocer.
“Fast healthy” restaurants are beginning to crop up in urban centers across the country, vying to take the place of the Burger Kings and Wendy’s of the next generation.
A Business Plan Built From The Ground Up
Bryn Davis was a recent grad from Elizabethtown College working various jobs to make ends meet while living with his parents. Having moved back from college 70 pounds heavier than when he matriculated, his doctor urged him to adopt a healthier lifestyle and specifically, to reshape his diet.
As Bryn shed the pounds by eating better, a business idea began to form in his mind – a healthy alternative to fast food, this wasn’t an earth-shattering revelation by any means, as Saladworks had already become a prominent food franchise. However, Bryn felt that his twist on the concept could be both simultaneously healthier and more palatable to those who enjoy the menu items found at most fast food franchises. He would create a menu built on locally-sourced, organic ingredients that still catered to the burger and sandwich crowd.
Working as a barista, making pizzas and a driver, Bryn had little free time. He spent his nights keeping his eight-year-old brother awake while he bounced around ideas and formulated a concrete business plan. After months of refinement, Bryn sought investors for his new concept.
In early 2008, Bryn found an investor willing to finance $400,000 into his restaurant concept. He would name it Bryn & Dane’s, after himself and his younger brother who he had kept up late while planning his first location.
2008 was not a good year to take out a restaurant business loan.
The Struggle To Start
When the markets turned, Bryn & Dane’s $400,000 investment evaporated. Not relenting on his need for funding, Bryn finagled a meeting with Philadelphia-area celebrity, Pat Croce, to seek an investment from the former owner of the 76ers, himself. Croce lent his advice, but didn’t invest, urging Bryn to “start small.”
Realizing the economic conditions in 2008 were not only bad for finding unsecured loans for small businesses but also bad for starting a business, Bryn opted to take things into his own hands.
On top of his three jobs, Bryn entered into an agreement with his grandfather: he would work one full year at his grandfather’s farm to receive $12,000, the amount he needed to open his first location.
At the end of that year, Bryn was ready to open his first Bryn & Dane’s location in a close suburb of Philadelphia. Bryn successfully persuaded the owner of a strip mall to lease him a space for three years with the first seven months free. Soon after the ink had dried on the contract, Bryn got to work opening the location.
Opening on March 5th, 2010, Bryn & Dane’s sold smoothies, popcorn and coffee. The plan for a full-fledged menu was there, but with short staff and shorter free capital, Bryn wisely chose to stick to the items he knew could be cranked out quickly and inexpensively. Making smoothies in two used blenders, the new business owner was keeping his eye on the bottom line.
In the summer of 2010, Bryn & Dane’s set up a temporary location to catch the area shore traffic on the boardwalk in Ocean City, N.J. Offering something that the waistline conscious could snack on in a sea of funnel cakes, fudge and pizza, the temporary location was a massive hit.
When shore season came to a close, the restaurant’s notoriety had grown along with its profitability. Bryn Davis set his sights on a new location located blocks away from the Hatboro-Horsham High School. With a larger location, the restaurant could expand its menu, build a drive-thru and create an image to go along with its mission.
Bryn & Dane’s opened its flagship location in February of 2012. With high ceilings, plenty of greenery and a distinct aesthetic preference for unfinished wood surfaces, the restaurant effectively communicated its purpose to any and all who ventured inside of its doors.
Bryn & Dane’s has expanded to three locations in the seven years it has existed with three more coming this year. The fast healthy restaurant is now peppered across Southeastern PA in locations like Philadelphia, Bryn Mawr and Plymouth Meeting.
Refusing to settle for just the Philly area, Bryn Davis is planning to expand to 100 locations across the country, primarily along the east coast and in the south. Today, the company pulls in millions in revenue and grows more profitable every day. On a total investment of $150,000, Bryn & Dane’s is not only a local success story; it’s poised be a national one.
Today, as public interest in healthier dining options reaches a fever pitch, the restaurant is uniquely positioned to be well-received in communities from coast to coast.
Bryn & Dane’s was started as a wild idea in a bedroom and, in less than a decade grew to a multi-million dollar business that employs dozens and serves thousands. Through the hard work and dedication of the people behind the operation, it has blossomed into a local area favorite. It did have a little help, however, in the form of nearly two million dollars in outside funding.
Find a Bryn & Dane’s location near you.
At Fast Capital 360, we celebrate small business success stories like B&D’s that build for the future. If you’re looking to build your business’ future with restaurant equipment financing or any other funding, give us a call today at 1-800-735-6107.