Sam Fox’s Phoenix-based group has grown from a local leader to one gaining national attention. Since launching in 1998, it’s evolved to 15 concepts spanning more than 50 locations, some of which are one-offs while others are growing as chains across the country. “Whenever we do something new, our goal is to open one great restaurant. We don’t look past that or sit in a board room and say ‘We are going to open 30 or 40 of these,’” says Fox. Still, FRC is expanding at a quick clip.
A big reason some of the concepts under the FRC umbrella are adding units quickly is that they’ve caught the attention of other restaurant chains looking for an emerging brand to help drive growth. The Cheesecake Factory, for example, made a majority investment in Fox’s better-for-you fast-casual Flower Child in November and in pizza concept North Italia. A few years back, P.F. Chang’s also invested in Fox’s True Food Kitchen. Fox isn’t handing over the reins, though. He has plans to continue to grow True Food Kitchen, Flower Child and North Italia, as well as Culinary Dropout, and is about to launch its newest concept—Doughbird, a pizza and rotisserie restaurant—in Phoenix.
“Expect to see us expanding our organization around the country.”
Fox's growth mindset
How do you push for innovation?
"We love the fact that the dining scene is thriving; it makes us improve our game. This constant change only drives and inspires us to be more innovative. Feeling pressure is when my team [and I] are most creative."
How do you keep FRC relevant?
"There's an art and science to everything we do. If you want a chance at succeeding in today’s environment, you better be good at both. I know I find inspiration all around and so does my team. ... That passion and personality translates back into the restaurant and usually takes on life of its own, whether it’s a new restaurant, seasonal dish or a design approach."
Concepts: Blanco, Culinary Dropout, Flower Child, Juby True, Little Cleo’s Seafood Legend, Modern Burger, North Italia, Olive & Ivy Restaurant & Marketplace, The Arrogant Butcher, The Greene House, The Henry, The Rocket, The Showcase Room, True Food Kitchen, Wildflower, Zinburger