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How the founder of Philadelphia based chain Honeygrow saved the business by slimming it down

The stir-fry fast casual had grown bloated by 2018, but by refining the concept, founder Justin Rosenberg got it back to growth mode.


Launched in 2012, Philadelphia-based stir-fry concept Honeygrow became one of the hottest fast casuals of the 2010s, quickly growing up and down the eastern seaboard and into Chicago. It even rolled out a sister concept, Minigrow, designed to fit into smaller spaces in urban communities like Manhattan.

But by 2018, Honeygrow was clearly out over its skis. The business had become bloated and couldn’t sustain any more growth. Founder Justin Rosenberg was forced to make some difficult decisions, including closing stores, laying off staff, cutting back on expenses and ditching the Minigrow model.

That process proved pivotal to the health of the Honeygrow business. It returned to growth mode with an efficient business model at its core, and now has 31 locations in seven markets.

Rosenberg joined the latest episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches to discuss the mistakes that were made as he and his team scaled Honeygrow and how other restaurant entrepreneurs can avoid those mistakes as they look to grow their own brands.

In this conversation, you’ll find out why:

  • You should minimize your G&A expenses and focus on great people instead
  • Sometimes you need a moment to catch your breath and refine your model
  • There is untapped potential in smaller markets
  • Don’t get too bogged down in complex technologies
  • If you’re starting a concept from scratch, don’t just clone what’s popular
  • Mistakes can be awesome — so long as you don’t make them again
  • Don’t let your ego get in the way of your brand’s potential

Contact Sam Oches at [email protected].

TAGS: Fast Casual
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