Concept2Watch: First Watch

"Regency Centers has seven First Watch restaurants within our portfolio, three here in our Florida market. Owner Ken Pendery and I grew-up in the same hometown in Northern Kentucky; in fact, his father was my grade school football coach, and Ken's brother Paul was our team's quarterback. As a company, they have remained true to their Midwest roots and serve very good food, but they also work hard to stay relevant by keeping the look and feel of each restaurant very current, selecting excellent sites, and offering only the finest ingredients possible. First Watch restaurants compliment our thriving centers by drawing a heavy breakfast and lunch crowd, and by the time they close at 2:30 p.m., there is ample parking available for our other tenants that depend on late afternoon and evening sales peaks.” - Mike Kinsella, Senior Vice President, Senior Market Officer


First Watch at Village Center in Tampa, FL First Watch at Village Center in Tampa, FL

This article was published in the March 2015 issue of STORES Magazine.

First Watch
Bradenton, Fla.

Ken Pendery and John Sullivan
Locations: 130

In 1983, Ken Pendery and John Sullivan saw an uncharted niche — restaurants focused on breakfast, brunch and lunch, rather than the traditional lunch and dinner. The two devised a concept with a menu that highlighted healthy foods, locally grown as often as possible. More than 20 years later, First Watch has grown to nearly 130 locations in 17 states, and is the recipient of more than 200 “Best Breakfast” and “Best Brunch” accolades. Named after the nautical term that refers to the earliest shift of the day, First Watch is open from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.



Image published in the March 2015 issue of STORES Magazine inside of a restaurant Image published in the March 2015 issue of STORES Magazine



First Watch locations pair industrial elements with reclaimed wood and natural light.

“When we come into a [shopping] center, we provide some vibrancy during hours when the center tends to be quiet,” says CMO Chris Tomasso. “We’ve found co-tenants, landlords and developers like us being there because we help drive business early in the morning.”

The “urban farm” décor features a mix of industrial elements like stained concrete floors and metal lamps paired with reclaimed wooden tables and lots of window space. To help minimize wait times on weekends, First Watch recently addded community tables; free Wi-Fi is also available.

Typical locations average 3,500 square feet and seat 120 customers. Tomasso says the fact that “our menu offers a wide range from traditional breakfast favorites to really unique items is, I think, what’s led us to be the leader in our segment.”

Click here to view this article published by the National Retail Federation.