Houston star-chef Robert Del Grande and his partners in Schiller Del Grande Restaurant Group launched the fast-casual bakery-cafe Cafe Express in 1984. Upscale décor complements housemade Southwest- and Mediterranean-influenced cuisine served in all three dayparts. Besides soup, salads and sandwiches, menus feature simple roasts and grills and specials such as burrata Panini. The concept blends high-quality food with some elements of self-service, such as Oasis Table, a gourmet condiment bar. Online ordering, takeout and catering are offered. Wendy’s International owns a majority stake, but Schiller Del Grande maintains creative direction of the chain.

LocationHouston, Texas
2012 Systemwide Sales$32,500,000*
% Change in Sales6.6%
2012 U.S. Units20
2012 Average Unit Volume$1,700,000*
% Change in AUV0.6%
Future 50 Year2013