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Started franchising: 1997
Brands: Einstein Bros. Bagels, Manhattan Bagel, Noah's New York Bagel
Locations: Over 600 Einstein Bros. Bagels nationwide
CEO: Jeffrey J. O'Neill
A nationwide franchise of coffee shops is making its debut in Chattanooga. And in Hixson. And Cleveland. And eventually, in North Georgia, too.
Cleveland developer Rob Renner plans to bring six new Einstein Bros. Bagels restaurants to the greater Chattanooga region during the next five years. The first location will be open by September.
"Einstein Bros. Bagels has been a pioneer in healthy, quick breakfast and lunch," Renner said. "With Chattanooga being a health-conscious city, I think it will work well."
Einstein Bros. Bagels serves bagels, coffee, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, soups and salads. The coffee shop chain includes about 600 stores in 40 states. Renner is building the region's first restaurant on East Brainerd Road, across the street from gift store Genevieve Bond and next to Wendy's.
"We think the East Brainerd area is going to be an A-plus location," he said. "The demographics of the people who live there really lends itself to Einstein's, and what they provide."
That target market is younger than other coffee shops, he said, and is aimed at people between age 25 and 50.
Renner plans spend about $1.2 million to build a 2,200 square foot, stand-alone location with a drive through and 31 parking spaces. After he builds the new Einstein Bros. Bagels, he'll turn over the day-to-day operations to operating partner Bob Cox, who owns Cox Hospitality Services.
"We're very excited about it," Cox said. "This will be a great challenge for us to bring an unknown brand to Chattanooga."
The pair hope to open the doors by Sept. 1, and they expect to hire about 25 people. The bagel shop will seat 40 people inside, with outside patio seating for another 20 patrons. The restaurant will mostly likely open around 5 a.m. and close between 3 and 4 p.m., Renner said. Employees will bake fresh bagels every day at 2 a.m.
Einstein Bros. Bagels offers a fast-casual dining experience, Cox said.
"It's not quite as fast as McDonald's, but it's not a 30-minute wait to get your food, either," he said. "You can run through the drive through and take it with you if you're in a big hurry. But it's also a place you can walk in and enjoy WiFi and an outdoor patio and a casual lunch or early dinner at reasonable price."
The East Brainerd location is just the beginning. Renner hopes to put another location in Hixson, followed by a restaurant in Cleveland. Then he'll branch out to Dalton and perhaps Fort Oglethorpe.
"We want to develop this market," Renner said. "We want to have the Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia markets. It's so much easier to bring a product to a market rather than just one or two areas. We think we can be far more effective with five or six locations."
In five years, he expects to have six locations up and running. By that point, he'll have spent about $7 million and have hired about 150 people.
"We're very excited by that," he said. "I like creating jobs."