FIRST WATCH BREAKFASTS WARMED UP many a Gulf Coast morning through the years, and a major expansion of the brand will bring the tastes of the University Park-based chain to more diners nationwide. After the announcement this summer that Advent International would make a majority investment, it means aggressive expansion of the chain, which already tripled First Watch and The Egg & I locations to more than 300 in recent years. “We look forward to deepening our connection with consumers, building our core business of serving healthy, high-quality breakfast, brunch and lunch,” says Kenneth Pendery, CEO for First Watch. Of course, Millionaire’s Bacon isn’t the only dish going from local flavor into national favor. Le Macaron, a Sarasota-based restaurant chain started in 2009 with a location on Bee Ridge Road and now with nearly 50 locations, announced plans for a significant nationwide franchise expansion this summer. “We created a business model that can grow rapidly throughout the nation and requires zero on-site baking for franchisees,” says co-founder Rosalie Guillem. The company in August announced a new franchise in Cypress, TX and has three new Southern California locations in the works.

Of course, not every restaurant going through an expansion wants to conquer the world. Since Deen and Kelly Fox purchased Sarasota-based Station 400, the popular restaurant grew to three locations—in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch and most recently the Landings—and a Venice locale may be next. Deen bought the original Station 400 after spending years working for national chain Bonefish Grill, and another former Bonefish-er, Curt Tyree, manages the most recent location, so the growth builds on the practices of the national chain. “Consistency is the most important thing to us,” says Kelly. “The menus will all be the same and all our training happens at the Sarasota location.” While growing into a significant regional power, the Foxes say ambitions for the company remain in the Sarasota-Bradenton region.