Jax on the list as Spread Bagelry looks to deal with Southern 'bagel desert'

Spread Bagelry is expanding to cities in the south, but not Jacksonville yet.

Jax on the list as Spread Bagelry looks to deal with Southern 'bagel desert'

A Philadelphia bagel chain, which has grown steadily for years, plans to open 7 locations by 2023. This will be its first location outside Greater Philadelphia.

Spread Bagelry plans to open four new stores in Philadelphia suburbs this year, as well as two in Charleston, South Carolina and one in Savannah, Georgia. Since 2019, the fast-casual restaurant chain has opened a new store at least once a year. In 2022, it began preparing for the massive expansion that will occur in 2019.

Spread Bagelry COO Brooks Tanner said, "We've been growing slowly, but now that we've hit the part of the bell-curve where we have ripped off the Band-Aid, we are going for it."

Spread Bagelry opened its first shop in Rittenhouse square in 2011, and is known for its Montreal style bagels baked in wood fired ovens. Now, the chain has 10 stores in Philadelphia.

Tanner says that Spread Bagelry currently has 140 employees. With the seven new locations, this number will rise to 200. The physical footprint of the company will grow by 110% in terms of square footage.

Jamie Schrotberger, CEO of the company, said that one of the reasons the company chose Charleston and Savannah as its first locations outside the region is because they have demographics similar to some of its Philadelphia-area locations. The target market for the chain is 18-35-year-olds who have some disposable income.

We also have many northerners who are used to eating bagels moving down. There's more to it than biscuits. All these Northerners die for us, and they tell us this as we travel down there," added he.

Tanner stated that the expansion of the chain in the South is to fill the "bagel void" caused by the absence of "a good, proper, Northeast style bagel".

Schrotberger stated that the bagel chain is likely to expand in the future, either northwards toward New Hope, New Jersey, and Princeton, New Jersey, as well as southwards toward Washington, D.C.

Spread Bagelry plans to also look for locations in the area between Myrtle Beach and Jacksonville in Florida to extend its reach from Charleston and Savannah.

The chain will tailor the hours of operation for each store based on the consumer's preferences. Schrotberger gave the example of a future Newtown Square store that could open between 7 am and 7 pm, instead of the usual 7 am to 3 pm.

Spread Bagelry can also expand its menu beyond the usual bagel sandwiches, breakfast dishes and other items.

Tanner stated that as the company grows, it is also forming an infrastructure within its corporate office which allows for a greater culinary development than ever before.

Tanner, the executive chef who oversees the company's culinary operations, was previously the executive chef of the Garces Group - Iron Chef Jose Garces’ restaurant group. Schrotberger was also the Garces Group's CFO before taking his position at the bagel company.

Schrotberger stated that the company may consider franchising if the profitability and sales of Spread Bagelry continues to grow. All of the locations are owned by the corporate.

Spread Bagelry formed a partnership in 2018 with Radnor's MVP Capital Partners. The portfolio of the private equity firm also includes Saxbys Coffee, a Philadelphia coffee company, as well as Workhorse Brewing Co. in King of Prussia.