Famous Toastery will grow without Long Island stores


By Dave Vieser. Labor laws, which vary from state to state, can put a damper on expansions. The experience of Robert Maynard and Huntersville-based Famous


Toastery is a case in point. He and business partner Brian Burchill grew up on Long Island and always wanted to open a restaurant there. That desire started to become a reality in 2016 when Maynard found a 3,750 square foot space in the Mayfair Shopping Center in Commack, N.Y. The middle-income suburban community is about 50 miles east of Manhattan.

Maynard and Burchill opened the original Famous Toastery in Huntersville in 2005. Open daily from 7-3, the restaurants offer an unusual menu of breakfast and lunch dishes from both north and south, such as bagels with a shmear and biscuits and gravy with eggs. Their lunchtime menu included wraps, melts, salads and

burgers, plus macaroni and cheese—with Gruyere and Parmesan—and crab rolls.

Maynard and Burchill were sure it would catch on in New York.

The first obstacle was permits. It took almost two years for the required town and county permitting to go through. Finally, in 2018, Famous Toastery opened in Comack to rave reviews.

Business was brisk and Entrepreneur magazine ranked Famous Toastery as one of its top food franchises in their 2019 rankings.


The North Carolina-based breakfast chain had seen a steady rise and wide-ranging success as they opened up their locations in the south, but, alas, their stay on LongIsland lasted only about a year. “I’m convinced that there was a market for our product,” said Maynard. “But what we didn’t see coming were new state wage and labor laws which really cut into our profit.” For example, soon after Famous Toastery opened, New York State adopted new minimum wage laws which required that all employees receive at least $11.80 an hour, as well as annual increases each year until they reach $15 an hour.

In comparison, North Carolina’s minimum wage is only $7.25 an hour.

Other new laws also hit Famous Toastery hard. One was a cross-training regulation which mandated that they had to train people like dishwashers for more senior positions—and pay them the higher salaries while training. After assessing their financial status, especially in view of the higher labor costs, Maynard said they decided to pull the plug last fall while also abandoning plans to open a second location. “It hurt to close, but it didn’t make sense to keep just one store open and, under the circumstances, we didn’t envision opening multiple stores,” Maynard said.

Famous Toastery continues to grow in the southeast, with over 30 locations spread between the Carolinas, Virginia and one in Georgia.  About half the Famous Toasteries are franchised.  In keeping with trends around what first-time investors in small businesses want, Famous Toastery is a lifestyle brand: Owners and employees alike can be home by 4 p.m. every day.

Lesson learned

“Don’t forget how different the world can be when you go to another state.”

Food philosophy

Let’s just say, we saw this all-day breakfast thing years ago.

Giving back

Each time a Famous Toastery opens, they donate two days’ proceeds to local non-profit organizations.


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