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First Watch is a restaurant chain based in Bradenton, Florida. The 105 store chain operates in 17 states. 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. They cofounded it after leaving the La Peep steak and seafood chain in Colorado. Pendery is the company's chief executive.
First Watch offers breakfast foods such as eggs and pancakes, as well as crepes and sandwiches. 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. 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.
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