John and Jeff Froccaro, brothers who operate nearly 36 Burger King franchises from Port Washington, have set their sights on another concept: The Greene Turtle, a sports bar and grille franchise based in Maryland. With plans to open 10 Greene Turtles on Long Island by 2021, they, along with business partner Harry Braunstein, expect to launch the first one in Franklin Square late February.
Patch caught up with Jeff Froccaro, vice president of Burger Brothers Restaurant Group Inc. in Port Washington.
Patch: Why add a new concept?
Jeff Froccaro: We know Long Island. We live here, and we've opened a lot of quick-service restaurants here. But it's a mature market for our existing concept. We wanted to find a vehicle for continued growth that would allow us to remain in and capitalize on our familiarity with this market. The Greene Turtle, being in a different segment of the restaurant category and having no presence on Long Island, offered an ideal opportunity for us to expand in our existing business footprint.
Patch: How did you discover The Greene Turtle - did they find you, or you them?
JF: The Greene Turtle originally reached out to us because in coming into a brand new market, they were looking for operators with experience in the restaurant business and knowledge of the market. We were already aware of the company, though, because of its strong association with lacrosse (several of our children are avid lacrosse players who have played at the high school and college level), especially throughout the East, as well as general brand awareness. They have locations in several popular destinations in the Mid-Atlantic - Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and Ocean City, Maryland, for example - that provide exposure to people who travel there from our region as well as other parts of the country. We felt that would give us a leg up as we look to introduce the brand to the Northeast.
Patch: How did you know the concept would be right - what kind of due diligence went into the decision making?
JF: As we would do with any business opportunity we thoroughly evaluated the financial viability and growth potential of The Greene Turtle and came to the conclusion very quickly that the concept was great fit for Long Island.
Patch: What makes for the ideal location?
JF: It's different from the quick-service restaurant formula that we've used in developing our Burger King sites. For those, we need to think more about ingress, egress and ongoing traffic flow as customers are using drive-through and generally getting in and out more quickly. For a full-service restaurant like The Greene Turtle, we look for the best combination of visibility - especially exposure to highly trafficked roadways like Hempstead Turnpike - and accessibility in The Greene Turtle's target consumer demographics, namely young, socially active adults who enjoy watching sports or just gathering with friends to dine and socialize in a friendly, welcoming setting, and families looking for a casual dining experience that offers something for everyone.
Patch: How many jobs do you expect to bring to Long Island?
JF: Each location we open will probably carry a staff of about 100, so by the time we've completed our 10-unit agreement, we'll have created about 1,000 jobs. Of course, one of the benefits of opening multiple locations within relative proximity to one another is the fact you ultimately realize certain efficiencies, so we may look for some opportunities to capitalize on that by sharing certain staff between locations. Still, we anticipate providing a significant number of job opportunities as we grow.
Patch: Will you look to get into other franchises?
JF: Our goal right now will be to focus all of our efforts on developing a strong presence for The Greene Turtle here on Long Island while continuing a steady growth path for our Burger King restaurants.