Leisure & Hospitality International 2018 - Volume 6, Issue 2 - 62
C HA RT O N M A NAG E M E N T I N C .
Charton sold 15 of its Burger King restaurants to pay off debt and invest in Qdoba locations in Ohio.
business. Herridge joined the company
five years later, just as it was beginning
to see the consumer trend away from
traditional fast-food "big three" toward fast-casual restaurants that offer
"We decided that it was going to be
important for us for multiple reasons
to hedge our company direction in that
we wanted to look into the fast-casual
world of QSR [quick-service restaurants] as another option for the future,"
Herridge says. "We really felt that
having a foot in the fast-food world
and the fast-casual world would be
wise given the share gains we've been
seeing in fast casual and the continued
need for convenience and familiarity of
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Charton realized it had to balance
its portfolio so it sold 15 Burger King
restaurants. Using the proceeds from
the sale to pay off all debt and create
funds for growth, Charton entered the
fast-casual market in 2013 with its first
Qdoba location in Marietta, Ohio.
It will open its second location in
Athens, Ohio, this spring. Herridge
says the company plans to open another three to five Qdobas in the next
Even as it makes a push into the
fast-casual market, Charton has found
that its remaining Burger King locations are performing better. When
choosing which restaurants to sell,
Charton chose to keep the locations
that were within a 45-minute radius of
its headquarters in Vienna, allowing it
to provide better oversight and handson management.
"We found that having limited our
presence within our specific DMA
[designated market area] we are
actually able to run much higher-volume restaurants with less distraction
from restaurant problems that were
more typical on the outskirts of our
territory," Herridge says. "We have
LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY INTERNATIONAL | WWW.LHIMAGAZINE.COM Volume 6, Issue 2
been much more successful and
grown our average unit volume to
nearly $2 million."
Because of that success, Charton
continues to invest in Burger King
alongside its new Qdoba locations. The
company recently began remodeling
its restaurants to the new Burger King
Garden Grill concept, which features
community tables, natural wood, sofa
chairs, earth tone colors, open spaces
and an overall more upscale design.
Five locations have already been remodeled and the remaining three will
be upgraded in the next few years.
Updating the look of its restaurants
makes them more attractive to guests,
but it's equally important to invest in
the behind the scenes systems that
make them run efficiently. Where many
franchisees rely on outside service
providers, Charton created its own
software development company, Valley
Tech LLC, to create business intelligence solutions for its restaurants.
Charton's IT director and former Burger
King general manager, Joshua Loy,
serves as the CIO for Valley Tech and
the director of operations for both its
Burger King and Qdoba restaurants,
Ord Delaney, also serves as Valley
The software allows Charton's
restaurants to better manage food
costs, food preparation, inventory and
labor using real-time projections and
reporting. The company uses some
of this Valley Tech technology in its
Burger King restaurants as well as in
Qdoba. "We are very excited about developing our own new solution for our
Qdoba restaurants that is basically a
back-of-the-house kitchen intelligence
solution," Herridge explains.
The software is used only by Charton
now but the company is hopeful that it
can become available to other franchisees in the future.