Fox Restaurant Concepts opened its first Flower Child in 2014 with the mission of "delivering healthy food for a happy world." Although the fast casual has a decidedly hippy vibe, its model for growth is big business. To power that growth, Flower Child received an investment from The Cheesecake Factory in 2016, providing capital and resources for expansion. In 2018, sales grew almost 52% year over year, and the concept added five locations.

"We're moving along at a good pace," says Sam Fox, CEO and founder of Fox Restaurant Concepts. "Cheesecake Factory has a great playbook, and we now have the resources of a giant organization as we make real estate decisions, people decisions and more."

But Fox Restaurant Concepts, which currently counts 11 distinct restaurant concepts in its portfolio, still owns and runs the brand. "Cheesecake Factory provides a level of discipline that helps us retain our focus, but we are 100% in on the day-to-day operations of Flower Child. We seek real estate, have an in-house construction team and control design and staffing," says Fox.

Not to mention the from-scratch menu and service style. Fox describes Flower Child as "a full-service restaurant masquerading as a fast casual." Although fast-casual standards such as salads, wraps and bowls take up a good chunk of the menu, there's also a substantial "plates" section. Here, guests can mix and match chef-inspired items such as Indian spiced cauliflower and spicy Japanese eggplant with grass-fed steak or sustainable salmon, creating their own entree. "We're equally busy at dinner as we are at lunch," says Fox. Guests order at the counter, but servers bring food to the table, and beer and wine are available.

Going forward, Fox says he has plans to expand Flower Child east and west, opening another eight or nine locations in 2019-20: Bethesda, Md.; Charlotte, N.C.; Fairfax, Va.; and Newport Beach, Calif., are on the list.

2018 Systemwide Sales ($000,000)$32*
YOY Sales Change51.9%
2018 U.S. Units16
YOY Unit Change45.5%
2018 Average Unit Volume ($000)$2,430*
Future 50 Year2019
FranchisingNo
*Technomic estimate

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