Original ChopShop eyes growth after Bellagreen sale to Ampex
The Original ChopShop LLC is targeting growth after selling its sister concept Bellagreen last week to Ampex Brands, the CEO said Monday.
Jason Morgan, left, CEO of Plano, Texas, Original ChopShop LLC, said in an interview Monday that the 17-unit brand plans to open in the new Atlanta market by the end of the year, extending beyond its founding home of Scottsdale. , Arizona, as well as Houston and Dallas.
The investment group has sold all eight Bellagreen Holdings units last week at Ampex Brands, the Richardson, Texas-based company that owns Au Bon Pain and franchises that franchise more than 400 Pizza Hut, KFC, Taco Bell, Long John Silver’s and 7-Eleven convenience store locations.
“We wanted the team to focus on just one brand,” Morgan said of the Bellagreen brand release strategy.
Morgan said ChopShop plans to open six restaurants by March 2023, with the new Atlanta market expected to open in the fourth quarter.
The first ChopShop opened in 2013 in Scottsdale, and Morgan’s investment group bought it in 2016, initially focusing on information technology.
“We immediately spent the next year and a half getting the IT technology in place so that we were scalable,” said Morgan, who previously worked with Zoe’s Kitchen, which was purchased by Cava Group Inc. in 2018.
“We have state-of-the-art technology in place,” he said. “It’s actually better than what I had at a publicly traded company before that.” ChopShop rolled out loyalty through Paytronix. Morgan said, and more than 35% of sales are associated with a loyalty number.
About 50% of ChopShop’s sales are generated digitally, with about half coming directly from the loyalty app and the other half through third-party platforms.
Since 2016, ChopShop has also increased its average unit volumes to $2.5 million with five parts of the day including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and catering and no alcohol sales.
The typical ChopShop footprint is around 2,800 square feet with 70 seats indoors and around 25 seats on a patio. Morgan said the brand typically looks for end locations.
In September, Morgan said, ChopShop will introduce a refresh of its salads, which make up about 12% of the menu mix.
“We just recently launched catering rewards, which was a big win for us,” he added. “We generate approximately 8% of our sales through catering, so we have a program in place that allows people who dine with us to collect a reward that is given to them in the form of a gift card once a quarter.”
Morgan added that over the past 12 months, ChopShop has invested in employee compensation, particularly for general managers.
“We got our total compensation from GM north of $100,000 a year,” Morgan explained. “We’ve added a 401k with a company matching up to 4%. We’ve added a career path for our team that shows them how they move from role to role.
This has helped tenure, he added, which has increased to about two years on average.
“We think that’s a pretty impressive number,” Morgan said. “They stay with us.”
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