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D.C. eatery Founding Farmers bringing unique concept to KOP outpost, hiring 200

July 27, 2017

Source, Philadelphia Business Journal, Kenneth Hilario

Washington, D.C.-based restaurateurs this fall will open their first eatery outside the nation’s capital in King of Prussia, which will employ about 200 people and serve as a sort of pilot model that could have business implications as the company grows.

Founding Farmers this fall will join the host of food operators at the King of Prussia Town Center when it opens for business in a 14,046-square-foot, bi-level space opposite Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar.

The Town Center outpost is the first foray outside of the Washington, D.C., area for parent company Farmers Restaurant Group.

The Philadelphia Business Journal first reported on Founding Farmers’ addition in April 2016, but new information provided shows the restaurant group has bigger plans for its suburban Philadelphia restaurant.

Unique product in portfolio

The King of Prussia Town Center location is a unique model within the Farmers Restaurant Group portfolio of farmer-owned restaurants.

The first floor of the restaurant will be the brand’s First Bake Café & Creamery concept, where bagels, doughnuts, coffee, milkshakes, ice cream and more will be served.

The second-floor main dining room will be the 10,786-square-foot Founding Farmers restaurant.

This will be the first Founding Farmers to have a full-blown retail bakery, as well as a creamery and a full floor dedicated to the First Bake Café & Creamery concept.

This marks a big step for the company.

There are much smaller versions of the program at the restaurant group’s three brands, Farmers Fishers Bakers, Farmers & Distillers, and Founding Farmers Tysons in Washington, D.C.

The menu is typically only available in the morning, but Founding Farmers in King of Prussia will have more on the menu and have extended hours because of the way the space and program have been designed.

“This level of commitment to a retail bakery … is my largest, and it’s the first big step toward a retail bakery, and being that neighborhood bakery in addition to being a neighborhood restaurant,” Dan Simons, cofounder of Farmers Restaurant Group, told the Philadelphia Business Journal.

If the King of Prussia model is successful, it gives Farmers Restaurant Group a new way to expand its economic model, and have a bigger footprint at farmers’ markets and getting local retailers to sell its bread.

“All these economic models connect,” Simons said. “I know each step of the supply chain, and driving bread sales is big part. And same with ice cream sales.”

The current First Bake Café & Creamery concepts are smaller, “hidden inside the restaurant,” operating more like a production bakery to produce bread for guests dining in.

“We’re still doing all of that, but now it’s retail and guest-facing,” Simons. “We want those breads to be on guests’ dinner table at their own home, not just on the plate in the restaurant.”

Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, also at the Town Center, has taken a different approach to the restaurant-bakery model.

The brand has two spaces — a building for the steakhouse, and a separate property across the street for its takeout-style extension, Davio’s Galleria Bakery + Cafe.

There are no immediate plans to open additional Philadelphia-area locations, but Simons said Center City would make sense for the brand.

“We’re trying to be awesome, not big,” Simons said. “With that in mind, we’re always open [to expansion] when we can find a landlord that loves what we’re doing, and if it’s a great opportunity, sure.”

“Philly’s going to be a great market,” Simons added.

New hires

Founding Farmers will employ about 200 people in total, including servers, bartenders, line cooks and dishwashers.

Since the King of Prussia location will also include the first-floor First Bake Café & Creamery, positions will also include bakers who make all of the bread from scratch every day.

Bakery positions include supervisory management positions and detail-level positions.

There will also be ice cream every day on site, so some of the positions will be more unique for this particular restaurant.

Founding Farmers has started hiring for the King of Prussia restaurant, primarily posting about the job openings online, using a website Culinary Agents and Craigslist as well as a network they’ve built in the region to get the word out.

Applicants, between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Fridays, can stop by a temporary hiring office in the King of Prussia Town Center near the LA Fitness, GNC and a parking garage, at 230 Village Drive, Suite #140.

The restaurant will create about 14 jobs with salaries ranging from $55,000 to $200,000-plus a year for its management positions, and 200-plus jobs for hourly, full- and part-time staff.

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