Elmers Restaurants Inc., a Portland, Ore.-based chain with about 50 locations in five Western states, says it would like to open three of its family-style restaurants in the Spokane area and perhaps a second outlet in Kootenai County.
A franchisee of the publicly traded company opened an Elmers Restaurants outlet in Coeur dAlene last summer. Now, it is looking for one or more franchisees to open Elmers outlets in the Spokane metropolitan area.
We think its a three-store market, company Vice President Jerry Scott says of the Spokane area.
Scott says it likely will be several months to a year and a half before Elmers has lined up a franchisee here and has set plans to open its first Spokane restaurant. He also says he doesnt know yet where the restaurants might be located, though he says the company has its eye on the Liberty Lake area, the North Side, and along Interstate 90 near downtown Spokane.
The company said in a recent earnings report that the Spokane market was among its highest priorities for expansion.
Most often, Elmers locates its new restaurants in existing buildings rather than constructing new ones. Its prototype outlet has about 5,500 square feet of floor space and seats about 170 guests, Scott says. He says, though, that the companys outlets have ranged in size from 4,300 square feet to 11,000 square feet. The cost to convert an existing building for use as an Elmers eatery usually is between $300,000 and $500,000, he says.
Scott says the company usually looks for locations that are free-standing, have freeway access, are located near hotels and other restaurants, and are in relatively affluent areas.
Elmers Restaurants outlets typically employ about 40 people, Scott says.
He says the franchisees it picks to open stores must be owner-operators, rather than absent investors, but need not have restaurant experience.
Well train them, Scott says. They need general business experience and must understand customer service and supervising employees.
The Elmers Restaurants Inc. chain includes 11 corporately owned Elmers outlets and another 20 franchised locations; the outlets are in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and California. The company also operates five restaurants under the Mitzels American Kitchen name in the Puget Sound area and 13 delicatessen-style eateries in Oregon under the names Ashleys and Richards. It will open its 32nd Elmers outlet this month, in Corvallis, Ore.
Elmers has said it plans to add 20 new franchised outlets to its chain over the next three years.
The company, the stock of which is traded on the Nasdaq small-cap service, reported net income of $289,000 for its third fiscal quarter ended Jan. 5, compared with $268,000 in the year-earlier quarter. Revenues for the quarter totaled $7.7 million, compared with $7.6 million a year earlier.
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