Allan Gantes, owner/developer of Famous Dave's in California, Oregon and Washington, grew up in an entrepreneurial family. Having started in his pre- teens working in Burger King for his father and his Grandfather’s independent restaurant, he has seen his share of hard work and growth in the industry. With considerable restaurant and franchise growth in the California market with his family, he went on to one of the most recognizable and reputable schools for hotel and restaurant management in the United States, Cornell.
The Gantes family started acquiring brands that made sense to develop in the Northwest and predominantly California. With national and world wide brands like Burger King, Brueggers Bagels, On the Border, Johnny Carino's, Ruby's diner and Hilton, they joined the Famous Dave’s system in 2005. “The first time we went into a Famous Dave’s, we were blown away by the food and fun atmosphere they offered” said Allan. “There were so few BBQ concepts that could produce consistent, Award winning BBQ each and every time!”
When we purchased the rights to several territories in California that matched our existing restaurant base, we opened our first one in El Centro, CA. “Wow! what an opening!” said John Gantes, Allan’s father, “We were thankful for a training program that ensured we could open with the same award winning food and service we came to love when we first visited.” For Famous Dave’s, it was one of the highest volume openings in the companies history. It wasn’t until we opened our second one in Palmdale, CA that we realized the full potential. “We won awards for the highest volume opening restaurant in the system that year,” remembers Allan. It was truly amazing.
“Besides the real estate, the systems and the process of opening restaurants is key to the success of developing a brand. Famous Dave’s has one of the most amazing New Restaurant Opening, (NRO) teams we have ever witnessed, and we have seen a lot of them, “ mentioned Allan.
The Gantes’ had amassed approximately 90 restaurants and a hotel through 2008. “Famous Dave’s recognized them as one of the largest franchise partners in the entire system. We looked at the Gantes’s as a stellar partner and a win for the organization to have such a restaurant developing juggernaut in our system,” said Christopher O’Donnell, President and COO of Famous Dave’s of America.
After the major economic downturn, California became one of the most depressed states with the most risk in real estate values and developing of new restaurants. The Gantes had to hunker down, re -organize and re invest in only brands that would carry them through the devastation. “We chose Famous Dave’s! they offered the most stable Average unit volumes, under- served competition and quality food that we wanted to continue to develop in our company,” said Allan. “In that economic downturn, we managed to build 3 restaurants, stabilize our operations and actually re invest with Famous Dave’s to secure more Area to Develop. “