First Watch (restaurant chain)

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First Watch is an American restaurant chain based in University Park, Florida.[1] The name is a nautical reference to the first work shift aboard a ship as First Watch restaurants are only open 7:00am to 2:30pm.[2] Their 6,000 employees are spread across more than 200 locations in 26 states.[3] The first was opened in Pacific Grove, California in 1983 by Ken Pendery and John Sullivan. The co-owners founded it after leaving the Le Peep breakfast chain in Colorado. In 1986 they moved the headquarters to Bradenton, Florida. [4] Since January 1, 2016, Kenneth L Pendry Jr. has been the CEO.[1]

The Colorado-based Egg & I Restaurants were bought by First Watch in May 2015.[3] The Egg & I has 114 eateries across twenty states.[5] Not every Egg & I Restaurant location will become a First Watch, but as of 2016, 22 conversions had been completed. In 2014, First Watch bought The Good Egg, which is located in Arizona. 18 of The Good Egg restaurants have been converted into First Watch restaurants.[3] Additionally, First Watch owns Bread & Company, a bakery and cafe located in Nashville, Tennessee.[5]

Advent International, a private equity firm, bought a majority stake in First Watch in 2017. Advent International bought First Watch from Freeman Spogli & Co, which obtained First Watch in 2011.[6] Freeman Spogli & Co. bought out the 85 percent stake previously held by Catterton Partners.[7] Catterton's stake was acquired in 2004 with a $35 million investment that allowed First Watch to expand in the Southeast and Midwest, doubling the number of First Watch restaurants.[8] First Watch has a large presence in Florida, Texas, Ohio, Colorado, and Arizona. First Watch and the Egg & I restaurants serve breakfast, brunch, and lunch and offer a wide variety of items.[6]

First Watch offers menu items such as Avocado Toast, Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict, Farm Stand Breakfast Tacos, Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, and a Fresh Juice Bar.[9]

In 2018, First Watch began to source its coffee from Huila, Colombia because they want to “Support these hard-working women and their families in Huila in 2018.” Royal Cup Coffee, an Alabama-based coffee company, roasts the coffee.[10]

First Watch ranked as the best breakfast chain in a survey of 150,000 Consumer Reports readers earning top ratings in taste, service, value, and menu choices.[7]


  1. ^ a b "First Watch Restaurants". Retrieved 2018-03-27.
  2. ^ "Our History - First Watch". First Watch website. Archived from the original on 2017-10-07. Retrieved 2017-10-07.
  3. ^ a b c "First Watch's bold growth move | Jax Daily Record | Financial News & Daily Record - Jacksonville, Florida". Financial News & Daily Record - Jacksonville, Florida. 2017-09-11. Retrieved 2018-03-27.
  4. ^ Faqs Archived 2012-03-21 at the Wayback Machine First Watch website
  5. ^ a b Antonation, Mark (2015-05-28). "First Watch Opens First Denver Branch, Acquires The Egg & I". Westword. Retrieved 2018-03-27.
  6. ^ a b Editorial, Reuters. "Advent invests in U.S. café operator First Watch Restaurants". U.S. Retrieved 2018-03-27.
  7. ^ a b Mark Albright Breakfast, lunch, success First Watch chain is making the most of the early end of the day March 27, 2012 Tampa Bay Times[dead link]
  8. ^ John Hielscher Firm buys First Watch restaurant chain December 23, 2011 Sarasota Herald-Tribune
  9. ^ danny (2016-02-02). "First Watch Inks Largest Franchise Agreement to Date". Food Newsfeed. Retrieved 2018-03-27.
  10. ^ "Restaurant Chain First Watch Revamps Coffee Program with Single-Origin Focus". Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. 2018-01-11. Retrieved 2018-03-27.

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