Chains that refuse to expand outside of a certain area out of loyalty

I’m wondering how widespread this phenomenon is: retail and restaurant chains that will not expand outside of a certain area, not because of financial or logistical constraints, but because they feel a sense of loyalty to a certain region.

Two examples come to mind:

Blake’s Lotaburger: a fast food chain in New Mexico. It’s quite popular in the state, but not one location is beyond the New Mexico state line. Supposedly several years ago, when asked why the chain never opened a location outside of the state, the owner said “There’s just some things that belong only to us.”

Honey Hut: a very popular locally owned chain of ice cream stands, all of which are located on the West Side and the western suburbs of Cleveland. The owner reportedly takes the local East Side-West Side rivalry to heart, and refuses to open a Honey Hut east of the Cuyahoga.

Any more?

I don’t understand why White Castle will not come to Atlanta. (no, I don’t know their reasons - I just really want a slider!)

Because we have Krystal here! :wink:

Sweet Tomatoes / Soup Plantationhas no plans to expand to the North East. I have now made it a tradition that everytime my wife drags me to Orlando or I have to be in San Diego to eat at a Sweet Tomatos / Soup Plantation.

Their location map is rather odd to me. You would think having gotten as far East as Illinois they would want to push along 80 and reach the NYC Metro area and the Rt 95 corridor. I’m not sure how they got to the Florida area and why they stopped expanding north.

I have Emailed them and I got a reply. They just have no plans at this point.

I was a regular when I live in San Diego. I always enjoyed their giant salad bar and fresh made soups and breads.

humming with fingers in my ears

There is a very fine line between lying and marketing.

I would still opine as a business owner, its a huge PITA to do business in multiple states, multiple sales tax and state tax jurisdictions, different labor laws, variables in all manner of business regulation. You might as well set up a whole new biz from scratch in many cases.

I would love to get one in Louisiana – they basically skipped over the whole Gulf South :frowning:

This is a good point. There’s also I suppose the factor that heavy local competition may make it too hard to open a new store in a certain area.

And yet they forced our local restaurant Sweet Tomatoes to change their name. I guess if it’s not widely known that they won’t expand to here, there could be confusion, but still.

At least you guys have something. Those of us that are stuck in the mid-Atlantic area have neither white castle or Krystals :(. I pray that one of these days one of them will come in to fill the void.

Isn’t California famous for having a couple of bible-thumping burger chain owners lke that?

Operational range of primary suppliers could be an issue as well especially in food.

If you’re thinking of In-N-Out, their refusal to expand outside of a limited area is because they want their restaurants to be in a range where the food can be delivered to each restaurant fresh without the need for freezing. Since it’s a logistical issue, it doesn’t really fall under what the OP was looking for.

I’m not sure what the other California chain would be.

Braums Ice Cream and Dairy stores.

The thing I miss most about Oklahoma. (well, besides my sister, but it’s really close)

Braums owns their own cows and controll the product in every aspect of production. I think they won’t expand past a one-day drive from factory to store.


Mr Hero. They’re all over Cleveland, but I’ve never seen them anywhere else.

Man I really want a cheese & mushroom.

Damn it! I’ve been known to take four hour drives to get some of that! You know, before the gas started costing more than the burger.

Chick Fil’A has finally come to California, and they seem to be building restaurants in a perfect ring around the SF bay area, 2 hours in all directions. It’s maddening!

I could seriously go for some Mighty Taco right about now. Alas, they don’t exist here in Texas, and since I’d have to visit my MIL to get some, I guess I’ll have to do without.

Winstead’s has been in business in the Kansas City area for 65 years. They’re a KC tradition and currently have ten locations spreading across both the metro and state lines. But that’s it. It’s only in KC. They’ve never once ventured past our city in their efforts to expand. I don’t know why.

When I lived in Ohio I was addicted to Bob Evan’s, both the restaurant and the bulk sausage in the store. Given up my Ranch Hand breakfast after a night of drinking was one of the hardest things about moving to Arizona.

They company always maintained that they wouldn’t open a store or sell product father away than 8 hours by truck from their farm in Chillicothe, OH. While I respected the dedication to quality that entailed, it still kind of sucked to not be able to get my fix.

The other night on TV I saw a commercial for Bob Evan’s frozen meals, though. I don’t know what happened, but apparently they’re relaxing their stance, at least on product sales. I don’t really feel too good about that, but if they start packaging and distributing their sausage and sausage gravy out here, I’m likely to give it a try and hope it’ll be nearly as good as it was back there.