There comes a time when growing restaurant companies must move to the next level, and that time is now for Santa Monica, Calif.-based multi-concept operator LGO Hospitality.
The operator of concepts like the buzzy and hip Misfit in Santa Monica and La Grande Orange Grocery and Pizzeria in Phoenix, LGO recently promoted its former chief operating officer Adam Strecker to the role of president.
Founder Bob Lynn, meanwhile, who previously served as president, will take the title of chief executive officer. The company is also looking for an in-house counsel.
The changes were needed to support the company’s growth, not only of its restaurants but also for its employees, Lynn explains.
“The jobs have gotten bigger,” he says. “With 13 businesses and $70 million in sales, we’ve got a lot of talent and we’re excited about our business, so it’s time to give opportunities throughout the team.”
Lynn, who previously worked for the Houston’s restaurant chain for about 25 years, founded LGO in 2002. Rather than create a chain, Lynn built the company as a collection of concepts, some of which share a name or aspect, but each unique and chef-driven.
In Santa Monica, for example, one of the most recently opened restaurants is Ingo’s Tasty Diner, a farm-to-table diner concept with a full bar built in a historic building that had been a diner and pastry shop since 1946. In Phoenix, however, aspects of the brand are used at Ingo’s Tasty Food, which is more of a gourmet food stand.
“At LGO, we think of ourselves as more of a lifestyle and internet company, and each store has their own recipe book. The chefs really do create and participate in all of the conceptual,” he notes.
LGO also likes to buy the buildings that house its restaurants. The company owns about half of the restaurant locations, which Lynn says brings stability to the business model.
LGO’s next concept is scheduled to open in Beverly Hills, Calif., in about a year. The new as-yet-unnamed restaurant will be something like The Misfit, but with a more elevated menu that will appeal to the younger diners of that part of the city.
“It will be more refined, but it will still have a pulse and be fun,” Lynn explains.
The company is also looking for a location in Brooklyn, N.Y. Lynn said Los Angeles is filled with music, TV and movie industry workers who are bicoastal, allowing enough brand awareness to move East. “We consider Brooklyn the same market as we’re in here. It’s the same customer,” he says.
Lynn is also looking for a small hotel or motel to acquire to create a casual-but-fun destination restaurant or inn.
LGO’s other concepts in the Phoenix and Los Angeles markets include Grateful Spoon Gelato, Chelsea’s Kitchen, Buck & Rider, Abby’s Oyster Bar, La Grande Orange Café and The Otis Bar, and The Luggage Room Pizzeria.