Denyelle Bruno announced ambitious plans to double Tender Green’s restaurant footprint over the next two years when she took on the chief executive role this summer.

Three months into her new job, and it appears Bruno is on her way to making good on the promise: The Culver City-based company has signed five new restaurant leases for 2019 and is actively negotiating another five, the executive said in an interview with the Business Journal.

Tender Greens, which is incorporated as TYP Restaurant Group Inc., currently has 28 locations − 15 in Los Angeles County, two in Orange County, four in San Diego, two in Boston and one in New York City. The next round of expansion is on the East Coast and in Northern California. The company is on track to hit $100 million in revenue this year, according to media reports. Bruno declined to comment on revenue figures.

“Right now, we’re building out in the Eastern Seaboard,” Bruno said. “We are opening three more restaurants in New York in 2019 and two to three more in Boston.”

Northern California will also see expansion with two more locations, she added.

Bruno said a successful expansion comes down to building teams, systems and work flow, which makes or breaks a company’s brick-and-mortar growth.

“At the restaurant level, it’s defining what the structure needs to look like,” she said.

Supply constraints

But it isn’t as simple as that, experts said. A company’s growth also depends on its suppliers meeting online and brick-and-mortar demands. Because Tender Greens sources produce for its menu from local and regional farmers, it needs to make sure its supply chain is ready to meet demand without compromising quality.

“This trend will only continue, so maintaining a dedicated area of the service counter for deliveries/pick-ups only and ensuring that your packaging is intelligently engineered to maintain the best possible integrity of the food is key,” said Paul Pruitt, founder and principal at New School, a downtown-based restaurant consulting agency.

Tender Greens’ local farming partners include Oxnard-based Scarborough Farms, which was also an early investor in the company.

“(Tender Greens) are trailblazers in the fast-casual movement,” said Jeff Stein, whose family owns Scarborough farms. “Two of the three co-founders came from fine dining backgrounds, so quality was important from the start.”

Stein said investors from Scarborough had a “30 percent collective sell off” after New York City restaurateur Danny Meyer and his Union Square Hospitality Group took an undisclosed minority stake in Tender Greens in July 2015.


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