SINCE 1988

Artistry Restaurants’ Oak & Stone is the Cornerstone Brand Poised for Growth


Artistry Restaurants has five — soon to be six ­ — brands in its Winter Park, Fla.-based restaurant group but for now, they’re focusing most of their energy on just one: Oak & Stone.

What makes this concept stand out to leadership at Artistry Restaurants is its scalability and the menu. The two combine to make what Artistry Restaurants’ CEO Mark Kirke says is a perfect combination for growth.

The group’s other concepts are Shrimp Basket, Boca, Sandbar Amelia Island and Atlantic Beer & Oyster. Two of these brands only have one unit each but Shrimp Basket has 18 locations across Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi, while Boca has two Florida locations.

While Oak & Stone isn’t the largest of the group’s brands with seven locations, it is the one with the most potential, Kirke said.

“I could be in Michigan, I could be in Texas, I could be in Arizona, I could be in Florida and the brand just works because it’s so approachable,” Kirke said.

Though this concept can be “anywhere,” don’t expect each location to be the same.

“It’s not going to be a cookie-cutter operation where your building is going to look like the same five before,” he said.

For example, the unit in Wellen Park, Fla. Has a second-story deck that overlooks the nearby lake. However, the concept isn’t bound to the rooftop feel, it just felt right for that location. Kirke also expects that there can be a saturation of Oak & Stone locations because you can “pop in every day.”

The food is also different at each location — or it will be, once the chain expands further.

“Somebody in the Northeast or the middle of the country or the Southwest might have a different version of what spicy is, and so we would cater to that need,” Kirke said.

The group plans the chain’s meals alongside the kitchen managers from each location. Kirke said Oak & Stone tries to make the best menu decisions it can based on kitchen and customer feedback.

One example is the chain’s Philly Cheesesteak Egg Roll. One in two tables orders the appetizer, and one of the cooks told Kirke that they should try making a Philly Cheesesteak Pizza. Kirke thought that might cannibalize the egg rolls and their popularity but, to his surprise, the pizza was a hit — and the egg rolls didn’t decrease in sales either.

This menu approach has helped the brand reach AUVs of $4.8 million with a restaurant-level EBITDA of 20%.

To maintain those high AUVs while expanding, Kirke has a list of what he wants in a future franchisee. First, they must want to open between two and five units right off the bat. Second, they need to have full-service experience. Finally, they need to have a passion for “delighting and taking care of guests and staff.”


Original Article: