First Watch (restaurant chain)

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First Watch is a restaurant chain based in Bradenton, Florida.[1] The 105 store chain operates in 17 states.[2] The first was opened in Pacific Grove, California in 1983 by Ken Pendery and John Sullivan. They moved the business to Bradenton in 1986. First Watch restaurants are named for the nautical terminology that refers to the first shift of the day.[3] They cofounded it after leaving the La Peep steak and seafood chain in Colorado. Pendery is the company's chief executive.[2]

First Watch offers breakfast foods such as eggs and pancakes, as well as crepes and sandwiches.[4] No microwaves, heat lamps, or deep-fat fryers are used. The business is largely owned by private equity company Freeman Spogli & Co., who bought out the 85 percent stake previously held by Catterton Partners.[2] Catterton's stake was acquired in 2004 with a $35 million investment that allowed First Watch to expand in the Southeast and Midwest, doubling the number of First Watch restaurants.[5]

First Watch ranked as the best breakfast chain in a survey of 150,000 Consumer Reports readers earning top ratings in taste, service, value, and menu choices.[2]


  1. ^ First Watch daytime cafe chain coming to Louisville, Lexington markets December 5, 2011 Lexington Courrier-Journal
  2. ^ a b c d Mark Albright Breakfast, lunch, success First Watch chain is making the most of the early end of the day March 27, 2012 Tampa Bay Times
  3. ^ Faqs First Watch website
  4. ^ Florida based First Watch restaurant Bizjournals
  5. ^ John Hielscher Firm buys First Watch restaurant chain December 23, 2011 Sarasota Herald-Tribune