Foxtrot is also starting to improve its supply chain and operational capabilities as the company has its sights set on moving beyond the definition of a small operator.
"We think there's a world where there is a Foxtrot in every city, so we don't see that as small," Williams stated. "To get the growth we want to get to, we have to modernize and put discipline and rigor behind our supply chain and standards, so we can scale it and simplify it."
Scouting for Growth
By the end of 2023, Foxtrot's current 26 stores will be joined by about 10 more, already in various stages of the pipeline in existing markets. The team is also scouting for new markets. "We have a couple we're playing around with," Williams said.
At present, all stores are company-owned, but the chief executive acknowledged that "there are many routes to growth. Right now, we're pursuing that [company-owned] avenue, but we're also keeping our options open."
What kind of market is ideal for a Foxtrot store? "It can be found all over the country in vibrant neighborhoods — anywhere people want next-generation convenience and a café and coffee shop where they can meet up with other people," Williams told CSNews. "And that's not just on Main and Main. We already have suburban locations in Dallas, where most people drive instead of walk, and the sites are doing very well."
The company is currently scouting additional suburban sites in the Chicago market.
The newest Foxtrot store, its first Austin location, opened in February. Like all Foxtrot stores, the 2,500-square-foot site was uniquely designed and merchandised with local influences, while still supporting the brand's day-to-night atmosphere and incorporating signature design elements such as concrete floors, hospitality lighting, wood paneling, warm color palettes and local artwork.
In keeping with the "thoughtful" neighborhood appeal that Williams referenced, the team spent months meeting with Austin area makers, chefs, bakers and brewers to find the tastiest local items to add to the new store's shelves. Brands selected include Bola Pizza, Lick Honest Ice Creams, Teddy V Patisserie, Toasty plant-based dips, Bottle Rocket hot sauce and Chop Chop Ramen. The Austin store is also the first retail partner for Cloud Nine Bakery and Pink Sugar.
There are unique local brand partnerships, too, with Good Juju flower company, Austin Winery, Live Oak Brewing Co. and St. Elmo Brewing Co.
"We love the local makers and will continue to embrace this aspect of our stores," said Williams. "Products from around the corner and across the country are very important to our customers and we work hard to carry both."