By Natalie Simms
After 30 years in various corporate roles for companies across the country, local Eggs Up Grill franchisee Andy Wright decided he wanted to build a business of his own. So, he left his job as Chief Financial Officer of Eggs Up Grill, headquartered in Spartanburg, SC, and to open his own Eggs Up Grill restaurants, along with his wife Penny, in Canton and Rome.
With the Canton restaurant already exceeding expectations since opening in December 2020, Wright hopes the same for the new Rome location that opens at 6 a.m. Monday. And if all goes well, the Wrights hope to continue growing in similar markets such as Cartersville, Dawsonville or Cumming.
“I held corporate roles in finance, procurement, and technology spanning the last 30 years,” says Wright. “These roles were predominately in helping to build small companies into recognized national brands.
“I’ve long been intrigued by the thought of building my own business and shortly after joining Eggs Up, I had the opportunity to spend a few days working in a franchisee’s restaurant and really caught the bug. Within 3 months, I was discussing it with my wife. She had been a part of the restaurant business before with her family business…she knew the complexity of it all.
“But, the restaurant’s family friendly atmosphere, the franchisees passion, community engagement, and focus on team development really excited me then, and excites me even more today…going from a desk job to being in the store and serving guests…its hard work, but exciting and fulfilling for me.”
Wright says he understands the economics of the business and didn’t get into it to ‘get rich’ but to build something for generations to come.
“I wanted something good, wholesome to build on so the next generation can continue to grow for years to come,” he says. “My wife is my also my business partner. We have three kids ages 14, 16 and 18 and all are heavily involved in our business. Our oldest two have trained at the corporate location in Spartanburg (SC) and are now servers in our Canton restaurant. They have really found their confidence in a very challenging year.”
Wright already had already developed his business plan for his first location in Canton and had lease agreements in place before the COVID pandemic began last March. Despite the short-term impacts, he had the confidence to keep moving forward.
“I’ve gone from feeling terrified to excited over the last year,” he says. “A business is a sizable investment and you have lease, loan and franchisee obligations. But I had confidence in our economy and in our medical system. We are social beings and I knew we couldn’t put our heads in the sand for eons.
“While there were short-term impacts, as we moved forward, I had the confidence we would persevere and do well. I left my desk job in March (2020), signed the lease in Canton and started building that location in August. We opened in December and it has exceeded my expectations. My business plan was written out before COVID in 2019 and we still have exceeded that plan.”
Wright says he chose Rome for his second location because of its strong community and regional draw.
“Rome is a regional hub and has a really strong community, vibrant and growing economy and favorable demographics,” he says. “We believe that the community will love our DNA – we are home to the whole neighborhood…serving smiles from sunup through lunch.”
At Eggs Up Grill you will notice the difference in service, menu and venue from the neighboring competition.
“Our service is our passion. We provide real service for real people and making them smile is job No. 1,” says Wright. “We have warm, friendly, and attentive team members – making you feel right at home. We are neighbors serving neighbors from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.
“We have a vast menu of breakfast and lunch items served all day. It starts with farm fresh hand cracked eggs cooked 14 ways – varieties include poached, scrambled, fried, omelets, etc. Breakfast and lunch sandwiches include burgers and wraps, salads, pancakes, waffles, hash, steaks, and a variety of healthy options.
“The restaurant is clean, bright, and family oriented. We have comfortable seating inside and will be adding patio seating over the next few weeks. We are able to accept orders over the phone or online, and shortly will offer 3rd party delivery services with Door Dash, Grub Hub, and Uber Eats. Orders can be picked up in our Eggside pickup area as well as through our pickup window.”
As for what’s next, Wright says he is focused on “the here and now” in Rome and Canton.
“We are acutely focused on delivering great experiences to our guests and developing our team members in Rome and Canton,” he says. “We want to grow, but not so fast that we outstrip our abilities. We would love to grow in markets that look and feel like Canton and Rome. We will look to opportunistically grow in markets like Cartersville, Dawsonville and Cumming over the coming months and years.”
In the meantime, he is ready to greet customers on Monday and get started bringing new offerings to Rome.
“Rome is such a business-friendly City…they have been so helpful and really rapid in their approval processes,” he says. “And the Ledbetters have been amazing to work with. They have done an amazing job on East Bend. It is well constructed…really top-notch and we’re excited to be here.”
Business hours are 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday-Sunday for breakfast, brunch and lunch. All veterans, active military and first responders will receive a 15% discount every day.