From Gourmet Toast To Breakfast Burritos: These Are The Under 30 Food & Drink Listers Redefining Chain Restaurants

From Gourmet Toast To Breakfast Burritos: These Are The #ForbesUnder30 Food & Drink Listers Redefining Chain Restaurants

Forbesunder 30, Ben Richter

12/7/2021 2:50:00 PM

From Gourmet Toast To Breakfast Burritos: These Are The Forbes Under30 Food & Drink Listers Redefining Chain Restaurants

The healthy, quick-service chain business has been an especially worthwhile avenue for our Under 30 alumni. Just look at Sweetgreen , which made its public debut last month.

But while they are facing an uphill battle, it’s not hopeless, Dunlop says. “Working in the favor of some of these smaller chains is that customers always want to try new things,” he says. “They really want that aspect of customization and individuality. That's really tough to get at the plug-and-play, multi-thousand store chain. So there's definitely a niche for it.”

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Customization is what new Under 30 honoree Richter, ofWake & Late, is building his business on. He opened his first restaurant in 2018 to solve what he calls the “breakfast dilemma”: Consumers who want to eat breakfast outside of their homes are faced with sit-down restaurant options or low-quality, non-customizable fare from existing chains. Since then, Richter has secured $2.2 million in funding and says Wake & Late is valued at nearly $6 million.

Ben Richter's Wake & Late specializes in breakfast burritos for all different types of diners, from meat-lovers to vegan and gluten-free customers. His restaurant partners with specialty coffee company Lamill to brew hot and iced coffees, iced lattes, matcha, chai and freshly squeezed orange juice in-house. headtopics.com

Courtesy of Ben Richter“I would honestly say there are no fast-casual breakfast startups. I can't even count them on one hand,” he says. “We operate at a crazy speed. I would say in the 150 burritos-an-hour type of speed.” Unlike Keefe, Richter is firmly against franchising. He plans to open at least three more California locations in 2022, hoping to operate roughly 30 Wake & Lates in the state in the next few years. Despite the success of his fellow Under 30 alumni from Sweetgreen, Richter says he’s not sure if a public debut is best for his startup.

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“I don't have expectations like that for us. If it happens, then great. I'm always going to shoot for the stars, I'm always going to push things as far as they can go,” he says. “But I'm just focused on great products, and if that takes us to an IPO one day, then that’s awesome.”

Read more: Forbes »

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From Gourmet Toast To Breakfast Burritos: These Are The Under 30 Food & Drink Listers Redefining Chain RestaurantsThe healthy, quick-service chain business has been an especially worthwhile avenue for our Under 30 alumni. Just look at Sweetgreen , which made its public debut last month.

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