The Great Recession has left its mark on America in the form of stubbornly high unemployment and a long foreclosure pipeline. Harkening to a 1950s-1960s period when unemployment was below 3% and homemortgage rates equally low could be refreshing for consumers, or in a word, instill in today’s diner the word most commonly associated with that halcyon era: happiness.
“We’re trying to make America a happier place and that’s what 5 & Diner is about,” CEO Bob Watson says. “I tell customers all the time we are rebuilding America one milkshake at a time.”
It’s in this way that 5 & Diner, which currently has 12 restaurants, plans to grab a larger piece of the so-called family dining industry. It’s a big, if slowly growing restaurant sector, reaching $34 billion in annual sales last year.
Watson was at first a 5 & Diner franchisee before claiming his corporate position. He and his wife Laurie are owners of LPM Holding Co., a large food service contractor, catering and event rental company in Maynard, Mass.