Mike McGuigan and Daniel Kearns, who were the founders of Ford’s Garage, had a vision of a restaurant with the aesthetic of a 1930s gas station. The company has grown to 17 locations over a decade since its inception. Moreover, they plan for 8 to 10 new restaurants nationwide by the end of the year. In the following years, they aim to open 10 to 15 new locations annually.
They target to open in Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Texas.
“Ford executives were down there and visited the restaurant and they liked what they saw,” Shlemon said. “The founders then received a phone call soon after from the licensing department.
“They said, ‘you guys are doing something that you don’t have the authorization to do. But we like your brand, and what you’re doing, so let’s set up a licensing agreement with you guys,’” said Shlemon.
After negotiating, a licensing agreement was reached in 2016, allowing the restaurant to use the Ford logo. Additionally, the company has access to historical photos and actual Model Ts.
Including the franchise fee, the total investment for a Ford’s Garage ranges from $1.46 million to $6.35 million. Most locations are 8,900 square feet with about 250 seats.
The latest openings for Ford’s Garage will happen in May, with restaurants set to launch in Cincinnati, Ohio, Palm Beach, Florida, and Dallas. The restaurant in Dallas will be opened by franchisee Brian Judd.
There also plan to open a second Ford’s Garage in Michigan. The first was built in Dearborn, right on the property of the Ford Motor Company.
“They assisted in the building of the restaurant,” said Shlemon. “It’s doing great, and we just signed a lease to open our second restaurant up there in the first quarter of 2023.”
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