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Grocery Veteran Goes From Huddle House Customer To Franchisee

Barry Robinson and his wife Betty are seen in this 2014 photo taken at a Georgia Food Industry Association event.
Barry Robinson and his wife Betty are seen in this 2014 photo taken at a Georgia Food Industry Association event.

After two decades as a regular customer, Barry Robinson has opened his own Huddle House in Hahira, Georgia.

For more than two decades, Robinson would leave his office where he was VP of the Harveys supermarket chain and walk across the street to eat at Huddle House. This March, he fulfilled a lifelong entrepreneurial dream by opening his franchised location in Hahira, his home community.

“I liked it so much, I finally bought one,” said Robinson, a 42-year-veteran of the supermarket industry. “I’ve always wanted to have my own business, and Huddle House made the most sense to me from both an entrepreneurial and a personal perspective. Even though I don’t have restaurant experience, I knew Huddle House had the systems in place that if my team and I executed that properly, we’d run a great restaurant. I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

Barry Robinson’s Huddle House in Hahira, Georgia, features the chain’s new look and branding.
Barry Robinson’s Huddle House in Hahira, Georgia, features the chain’s new look and branding.

The Hahira Huddle House restaurant is a freestanding location that reflects the 51-year-old chain’s new look and branding. The family-friendly 24-hour diner will seat up to 85 people at a time. Robinson says it’s a perfect match for Hahira, where he has lived the past 20 years and where he and his wife Betty are heavily involved in community activities.

“From an entrepreneurial perspective, there was a need to be filled in the Hahira community,” Robinson said. “This new Huddle House gives the Hahira community something they haven’t had before—a 24-hour, full-service restaurant with an expansive menu serving any meal, any time.”

Typically open 24 hours, Huddle House serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all day. The menu offers a mix of Southern-inspired comfort food, including signature Big House breakfasts, hash browns, grits, waffles and omelets, all made to order. Other favorites include Big Bold Burgers, Big House sandwich platters, country fried steak with green beans and marinated grilled chicken with sweet potato fries.

“There’s something on the menu for everyone,” Robinson said. “The Huddle House food is part of the pride of the South.”

With more than 400 restaurants open or under development, Huddle House is aggressively expanding with plans to open an additional 100 restaurants over the next three years.

“Barry is exactly the type of franchisee we are looking for,” said Huddle House Chief Development Officer Jonathan Benjamin. “He’s passionate about our brand and understands the importance of making Huddle House more than just a restaurant, but a valuable member of the community.”

“That’s important to me,” Robinson said. “There may be some other nearby opportunities down the road, but right now I just want one great restaurant in Hahira.”

After the past two years of uncertainty and changed plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we all hoped that 2022 might bring back a sense of normalcy.

However, with government and independent data confirming 40 years of inflation highs and Wall Street entering a bear market, grocers now have new challenges to face.

In this webinar, we will hear from Todd Taylor of Neighborhood Fresh and Darlene Murphy of Metcalfe’s Market about why shopper loyalty is so important in this time of inflation.

Register Now To Attend

CPG + Grocery Retailers’ Rapid Response to Shifting Consumer Behavior Is Impressive and Ongoing

At every twist and turn, brands and retailers have responded to crisis and disruption with innovation, ingenuity, and reinvention. Until the next big thing pops up, many of the changes to the way consumers now shop for groceries and purchase CPG retail items expect to remain. Despite their nimbleness over the last two-plus years, brands and retailers must continue to improve to meet evolving expectations and demands of consumers.

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