Owner: Sun Capital Partners
CEO: John Neitzel
Locations: 37 company-owned, 11 franchised
Some restaurants serve great food, and some bars serve great drinks. Bar Louie, a relatively young 46-unit chain of “neighborhood” restaurants/bars, strives to do both at prices that make it possible for customers to come back regularly.
Erika Buesing, the company’s senior director of marketing, says Bar Louie looks for “eclectic, unpretentious, bustling urban locations that are easy to walk or drive to.” Locations feature subtle lighting, mosaic tiles and restorations of original wooden floors or brick walls. The bar takes up 30 to 40 percent of the average restaurant’s 5,000 sq. ft., and some 55 percent of sales come from beverages.
Customers can choose from more than 65 menu items, including an assortment of unique signature dishes and bar drinks. In most locations, restaurant managers also tend bar, providing what Buesing describes as “a sense of guests visiting someone’s home.”
The company plans to open seven locations in 2011 and then grow at a rate of approximately 20 company-owned stores annually for the next few years, primarily filling in existing markets.