Pilot Signs Franchise Deal With Huddle House

Restaurant chain will open five travel center locations

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. & ATLANTA -- Pilot Travel Centers LLC has signed franchise agreements with Huddle House Inc. for the family dining chain to open five new restaurants in the next eight months. The first of the restaurants is opening this May in Frystown, Pa., with additional openings slated for Anna, Texas, Fargo, N.D., New Haven, Ind., and Lebanon, Ind.

"In 2012, Huddle House is looking to strengthen its presence with companies like Pilot Travel Centers LLC, a strong multi-unit restaurant operator operating in the travel center venue," said chief development officer Mark Whittle.

"Expanding our restaurants into travel centers is beneficial for Huddle House because it provides joint traffic flow and a demographic that connects well with the iconic brand, from the quick, friendly service to the variety of food offerings," he said.

In addition, developing the Huddle House brand in travel centers typically involves a much lower cost of capital for franchisee's to open a restaurant than traditional freestanding development.

"Working with Pilot Travel Centers LLC will be a key strategy in 2012 and beyond for new restaurant development. We are pleased to announce the signing of these initial five locations and hope these will be the first of many more locations to come."

In February, two franchisees of Huddle House signed leases with Pilot Flying J to open six restaurants. The first of the restaurants opened in mid-November 2011 in Ardmore, Okla. with additional openings slated for Edmond, Okla., Oklahoma City, Madison, Ga., Emporia, Kansas, and Salina, Kansas (see Related Content below for previous CSP Daily News coverage).

As a brand that is known for its comfort food items and 24-hour service, Huddle House has developed several new products exclusively for the travel centers to appeal to a broader clientele base. By introducing a new interior design package featuring flexible seating options, larger booths and a warmer color palate in 2011, Huddle House is well equipped to provide a one-stop option for all of its traveling guests.

"We have implemented new operations strategies to appeal to the professional driver customer base, as well as the local residents near the facilities. One such strategy is a new signature 'Big Rig Menu'," Whittle said. "The Big Rig Menu not only offers tailored products for the professional drivers, but also ensures that Huddle House maintains strong speed of service to its guests."

Huddle House, a full-service family restaurant chain, is known for serving "Any Meal. Any Time." in communities around the country. Its menu features signature Big House breakfast and sandwich platters, as well as favorites such as country fried steak with green beans and marinated grilled chicken with sweet potato fries. Typically open 24-hours, Huddle House serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all day. In 2011, Huddle House introduced a new decor package with flexible seating for larger groups. With more than 400 locations in 20 states, primarily in the Southeast, Mid-West and Southwest United States, the company is based in Atlanta.

Pilot Travel Centers is based in Knoxville, Tenn., and has more than 550 retail locations across North America. Pilot is also one of the nation's largest wholesale fuel providers, delivering more than 500 million gallons of fuel to thousands of customers in 47 states and eight Canadian provinces.