Biscuit Belly, the Kentucky-based brunch concept with a southern flair, is making its way up the East Coast with expansion in North Carolina.
The emerging brand, founded in 2019, signed a six-unit deal with a pair of its existing franchisees to open locations in the Charlotte metro area. The franchisees are Todd Gallinek and Deepen Patel, partners who have a combined 40 restaurants together through the Power Brands Hospitality Group.
Those 40 restaurants include two Biscuit Belly locations they opened in Huntsville and Hoover, Alabama. Patel said the focus of the group has been in Alabama and Texas, but they’ve been pushing for more growth in the Carolinas.
Patel said their Alabama units have been successful thus far, prompting the deal for Charlotte.
“We own a lot of fast casual brands like Five Guys and Nothing Bundt Cakes as well as a lot of regional brands as well,” Patel said. “The common multiplier with them is that they’re serving the highest quality, made-from-scratch food. Biscuit Belly met a lot of that basic criteria.”
The made-from-scratch biscuits at the heart of the brand is something the founders had been interested in from when the time they opened a previous restaurant concept. Chad Coulter and his wife, Lauren, opened a wine bar concept in 2014 called Loubino, which they later sold in 2020.
“When we initially opened, our chef and I had always played around with this biscuit idea,” Chad Coulter said. “I’m from Georgia, and everywhere you go, there’s biscuit sandwiches.”
In the ensuing years, Coulter said they began noticing other Southern breakfast restaurant brands popping up and wanted to follow suit. After launching in 2019, Biscuit Belly launched franchising in 2020.
“We had three deals in 2021 and felt that was good enough for the pipeline while we still built out the model,” Coulter said. “In 2022, we ended the year with two franchised units open and four company-owned. By the end of this year, we’ll probably have 12 or 13.”
According to Patel, while Biscuit Belly is a newer company, it has so far been exceptional to work with.
“For such a young brand, we’ve been blown away by the professionalism and how much time they’ve spent around getting it right,” Patel said. “We bake our biscuits fresh every morning, but corporate has refined the process and really streamlined it. They’ve made it as easy as possible to us, and the details and instructions they’ve made available is foolproof.”
Coulter said the brand will continue to open company locations alongside franchise expansion as a way to ultimately improve operations for owners. “We don’t believe in a 100 percent franchise model,” Coulter said. “We’re still building corporate stores because we feel in order to do best by our franchisees, we have to know how to operate the business. We are also incentivized to do things to bring costs down, work with our vendors and tweak recipes.”
Coulter said the brand will likely take off in the Charlotte area, which has a population of more than 2.5 million, thanks to the franchisees’ background.
“They have a lot of experience in the multi-unit space and running great restaurants, and they have great AUVs,” Coulter said. “We’re teaming up with some very good operators, which is exactly what we’re looking for.”
The lease for the first location has been signed and two units are expected to open in spring 2024. The initial investment for a Biscuit Belly is between $697,000 and $1.1 million.