In Charlotte, North Carolina, there are nearly 2,720 people per square mile—that’s a lot. Many of these people have cars, and most of them are continually in route to some sort of destination. Long story short, there’s always someone out there ready to swoop in a take your parking spot. Endless circling ensues. Horns are honked. Patience is tested.
Fortunately, the fight for a parking spot, long a necessary evil of any morning brunch-goer, is getting a little easier. For Charlotte, the home of Famous Toastery, the problem isn’t that the city is running out of parking spots. It’s that new developments are popping up in places like plazas and strip malls, and they’re relying on the surrounding lots and neighborhoods to supply parking for most of their patrons.
For landlords who lease out these storefronts, restaurants like Famous Toastery, which maintains shorter daytime hours than most businesses (often from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.), can be a dream come true. That’s because shorter hours means a shorter window of time that they have to share parking spaces with other patrons. In the end, this can result in less competition between businesses, giving everyone a fair shot at a steady customer flow and increased revenue. As the parking lot clears out once Famous Toastery closes its doors, a new wave of traffic can easily make their way in to the stores with all-day hours.
That’s good news for Famous Toastery, too. The brand’s limited hours have made it easier to secure prime real estate locations with developers due to the fact that they don’t compete for both foot and car traffic with surrounding and existing businesses. Ultimately, this has helped Famous Toastery land better leases, which, in turn, has led to stronger opening growth. And so far, that tactic is working—so far this year, 30 new locations are in the pipeline in both existing and untapped markets.
“From early morning until mid-afternoon, our locations may require a significant amount of parking spaces in nearby lots and neighborhoods. But as soon as we close our doors, our customers clear out and the parking lot is empty. It’s ready for the next wave of patrons—whether that’s for the nearby coffee shop or clothing store,” said Robert Maynard, founder and CEO of Famous Toastery. “It’s really like a game of give and take—we’re sharing the spaces by handing them off to the next wave of evening patrons. Landlords really gravitate toward this concept when looking for potential owners to fill their stores. And that has been an added benefit as we look to expand.”