Restaurant management company Innovative Dining Group has long taken the tortoise approach to building its roster of eateries: slow and steady. But lately the company has adopted the brisk pace of the hare.

The West Hollywood company is introducing restaurant concepts that will expand its portfolio by more than 30 percent. It’s also sending its fine-dining chain BOA Steakhouse overseas for the first time.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism Development & Investment Co. approached Innovative Dining Group earlier this year to open a steakhouse there next spring.

Lee Maen, a co-founding partner of Innovative Dining Group, said the Abu Dhabi licensing deal will be a jumping-off point for the BOA Steakhouse brand to expand across the globe.

“We feel that most people in Europe travel through the United Arab Emirates at some point,” he said. “We think it’s a great opportunity to launch our brand from there into places in Europe such as France and London, and in Asia, too.”

By early next year, the company also will have added four restaurant concepts to its lineup: two Italian restaurants; a Chinese restaurant; and B Grill, a fast-casual version of BOA Steakhouse that will open at the United Airlines terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. Both the Abu Dhabi steakhouse and B Grill mark the company’s first foray into the world of brand licensing.

The challenge will be managing that growth. Restaurant consultant Jerry Prendergast in Culver City said that because it’s growing so quickly, the company will have to work hard to maintain quality service.

“That’s a lot of people to be adding to your management team and that could be their biggest issue: building that group of individuals who maintain the quality and integrity of each operation,” he said. “If you talk to people at any higher-end chain – Houston’s, Cheesecake Factory, any of those – they’ll probably admit that their biggest issue in expanding is growing a quality management team.”

Philip Cummins, a second co-founding partner at Innovative Dining Group, acknowledged that management could be a challenge, but said that during the recession the company developed the infrastructure for future expansion.

“When we saw that we weren’t going to open restaurants in 2009 and 2010, we spent those years focusing on our management and operations, so that when the economy came back, we were ready to go,” he said. “We used that down time to prepare for growth again.”


For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.