Roosters is on the hunt for more sites in the Dayton area.
Dan Ponton, president and CEO of the chicken chain, said even though many other casual dining chains are scaling back and closing stores, Roosters is on a growth streak and seeking to open three or four more stores in the area.
The Dayton Daily News reported first the restaurant was replacing its Dayton Mall area store with a larger Miami Twp. location.
The restaurant chain, based in Dublin, has been scooping up vacant buildings once home to brands like Ponderosas, Bob Evans and Denny’s.
“But for us, we are able to buy their properties and go in and actually employ more people than they were employing anyways,” Ponton said.
Ponton said as he shops for the right location for the next restaurants, he has plenty of places to chose from.
“I used to get a call on buildings maybe once a month and now I’m getting two calls a week on what’s available,” he said.
It’s been a challenging environment for casual dining chains. By August, publicly traded chains announced the closure of more than 350 stores in the U.S. just this year, according to Nation’s Restaurant News.
The casual dining industry has been squeezed by flat consumer spending, a highly competitive landscape and the rise of fast casual competitors.
But Ponton said for his business, this has left prime, vacant restaurant real estate at a good price for Roosters to buy.
He said Roosters has advantages despite the challenging overall environment because of aspects like its low menu prices and its low corporate overhead, with the company having no headquarters.
“Our world headquarters is my basement,” he said.
Roosters just bought the former Caddy’s Tap House at 9400 Springboro Pike for $1.7 million and plans to move its 103 N. Springboro Pike store near the Dayton Mall into the larger space.
Besides growing into a 8,500-square-foot space, the new restaurant location will let Roosters have a patio area with outdoor seating.
Renovations should start in early 2018 with a build out complete sometime after March.
Ponton estimated Roosters might spend about $1 million on the renovation work to prepare the new store for opening.
Each store employs about 100 people, depending on the size of the location. Roosters has about 38 stores, with most in the Dayton area corporately owned and franchising in other markets.
Including Xenia and Springfield, there are six Roosters stores in the region and Ponton said he’s actively looking for the additional locations. He’s also looking to add more stores in the Columbus market.
“We’re very happy with all our locations, but we just want more,” he said.