The Growing Empire of Lazy Dog Restaurants. How Many Locations Do They Have Now?

Introduction

Lazy Dog Restaurant is a casual dining restaurant chain located primarily in the western United States. It was founded in 2003 in Huntington Beach, California by Chris Simms, Roshan Mendis, Steve Price and Guy Villavaso. Their headquarters remain in Huntington Beach.

Lazy Dog Restaurant aims to provide a fun, family friendly dining experience with a menu focused on sharing plates and American comfort food like burgers, pizza, and pasta. They are known for their special Lazy Dog seasoning on items like their flatbreads, wings, fries and roasted brussels sprouts.

The interior of Lazy Dog restaurants have a rustic, lodge-like design featuring stone fireplaces, leather couches, and timber decor. They frequently partner with local artists and artisans to decorate their restaurants with unique, hand-crafted furniture, lighting and art.

Current Locations

current number of lazy dog restaurant locations

As of 2023, Lazy Dog has a total of 48 restaurant locations open across 10 U.S. states. The states with the most Lazy Dog restaurants are California, Colorado, Nevada, and Illinois.

The full breakdown of Lazy Dog locations by state is:

  • California – 19 locations
  • Colorado – 7 locations
  • Nevada – 6 locations
  • Illinois – 5 locations
  • Texas – 4 locations
  • Ohio – 2 locations
  • Oregon – 1 location
  • Wisconsin – 1 location
  • Maryland – 1 location
  • Virginia – 1 location

California, where Lazy Dog first started, continues to have the most locations. However, the restaurant has been expanding nationwide over the past decade. Major growth markets include Colorado, Nevada, Texas, and the Midwest states like Illinois and Ohio.

Location Strategy

lazy dog's location and expansion strategy

Lazy Dog restaurants tend to prioritize suburban locations in residential areas near shopping centers or other retail when looking for new real estate.1 This allows the restaurants to easily attract families and dog owners living nearby. The chain focuses heavily on California, especially Los Angeles, Orange County, and the Bay Area.2 However, Lazy Dog is also expanding nationwide into states like Illinois, Colorado, Texas, and Tennessee.

Suburban strip malls and lifestyle centers surrounded by residential neighborhoods match Lazy Dog’s laidback, neighborhood vibe. Locations close to the target demographics makes it convenient for families and dog owners to visit regularly.

Restaurant Design

description of lazy dog restaurant interior design

Lazy Dog restaurants are known for their warm, rustic decor that creates a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. The interior design features a mix of reclaimed and vintage materials that give each location a unique, custom-built feel. According to the design firm GLMV, their vision was to create an environment reminiscent of “an old mountain retreat” with details like reclaimed barn wood walls and tables made from old whiskey barrels. The restaurants incorporate elements like vintage sleds, skis, and wagon wheels to play up the mountain lodge theme.

Fireplaces are a central fixture and gathering place in Lazy Dog dining rooms. Many locations have multiple stone fireplaces that become focal points, creating a warming and inviting environment for dining. The restaurants also feature high, wooden-beamed ceilings and antler chandeliers as signature rustic design elements. Large windows and patio seating allow diners to feel connected to the outdoors. The overall vibe combines the coziness of a ski lodge with an upscale ranch-style aesthetic.

Menu

The diverse Lazy Dog menu features classic American comfort food with a modern twist. With ingredients sourced from local purveyors, Lazy Dog aims to provide shareable plates and craveable dishes in a casual yet upscale environment.

The menu is divided into several sections including appetizers, soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and entrees. Appetizers range from their famous pretzel bites with beer cheese sauce to spicy buffalo cauliflower and chili lime chicken tacos. Their soups are made in-house daily such as the popular roasted tomato basil soup.

Lazy Dog offers creative burgers piled high with unique toppings as well as sandwiches like the ahi tuna melt and Cubano press. For main entrees, guests will find dishes like cedar plank salmon, sweet & spicy Korean BBQ quail, and bison meatloaf. Sides include truffle fries, mac & cheese, roasted vegetables and more.

No matter what you’re craving, the diverse Lazy Dog menu aims to satisfy with quality ingredients, creative preparations, and generous portions perfect for sharing.

Signature Dishes

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar is known for its creative takes on comfort food classics. Two of their most popular signature dishes are The Dirty Dog and the BBQ Bison Meatloaf.

The Dirty Dog features a grilled hot dog topped with pulled pork, bacon, chili, cheddar cheese, onions, and BBQ sauce. It’s a decadent twist on a classic hot dog that customers rave about. According to the Gwinnett Daily Post, “The Dirty Dog takes a hot dog to the next level with flavor combinations customers won’t be able to get enough of.”

The BBQ Bison Meatloaf is another customer favorite. It features a blend of bison, bacon, and spices topped with homemade BBQ sauce and served with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. The meatloaf has a rich, savory flavor that diners love. As described by Shop Food, “The BBQ Bison Meatloaf is a protein-packed entrée bursting with flavor from the bacon and homemade BBQ sauce.”

Company History

Lazy Dog was founded in 2003 by Chris Simms in Huntington Beach, California [1]. Simms got the inspiration for Lazy Dog while on a trip to the Australian Outback, where he encountered a “lazy dog bar” known for its casual, fun atmosphere.

The first Lazy Dog location opened in 2003 in Huntington Beach. In 2007, the company began franchising and opened its first franchised location in Roseville, California [2]. By 2015, Lazy Dog had grown to 15 locations in California, Colorado, Illinois and Nevada under Simms’ leadership as CEO [1].

In 2016, the private equity firm Roark Capital acquired a majority stake in Lazy Dog, providing funds for continued expansion [2]. Under Roark’s ownership, Lazy Dog has opened dozens of new locations and expanded into new states like Texas, Michigan and Georgia. As of 2019, Lazy Dog operated over 30 locations and was continuing its rapid expansion nationwide.

Franchise Opportunities

Lazy Dog does not currently offer franchising opportunities. All of their 50+ locations are company-owned and operated (Forbes). This allows Lazy Dog to maintain tight control over the brand, menu, and customer experience across all of their restaurants.

In the past, Lazy Dog’s founder Chris Simms had considered franchising but ultimately decided to keep the business private and self-funded. The company has been able to successfully expand to 12 states by using its own capital (Lazy Dog).

While Lazy Dog does not currently offer franchises, that may change in the future as the company looks to expand nationwide. Any future franchising opportunities would likely have significant financial requirements and operational obligations to maintain Lazy Dog’s standards.

Fun Facts About Lazy Dog

Lazy Dog has some interesting origins and fun facts that make it stand out.

The restaurant’s unique name comes from founder Chris Simms’ actual lazy dog who inspired the concept. Simms was going to name the restaurant Rocky Mountain Cafe originally, but decided on Lazy Dog Cafe after his relaxed pooch (source: https://www.mashed.com/229926/heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-lazy-dog-restaurant-bar/).

interesting facts about the lazy dog restaurant chain

The first Lazy Dog restaurant opened in 2003 in Huntington Beach, California by Chris Simms and his father (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazy_Dog_Restaurant_%26_Bar).

Lazy Dog aims to bring the feeling of the great outdoors inside through its lodge-inspired rustic design with features like fireplaces, hunting lodge decor, and log cabin aesthetics (source: https://www.lazydogrestaurants.com/blog/forces-of-nature).

Lazy Dog is eco-conscious – its menus are printed on recycled paper, take-out containers are compostable, and restaurants utilize energy-efficient equipment (source: https://www.lazydogrestaurants.com/blog/forces-of-nature).

In 2021, Lazy Dog introduced “Lazy Dog TV”, an in-house produced streaming channel available on screens at Lazy Dog restaurants, featuring original shows, music, and nature footage.

Future Expansion Plans

According to the Lazy Dog website, the restaurant has ambitious expansion plans. They currently operate restaurants in 9 states and plan to expand to at least 6 more states and 150 or more locations over the next 5-7 years.https://www.lazydogrestaurants.com/press/list/lazy-dog-restaurant-and-bar-announces-aggressive-expansion-plans/ This rapid growth is being fueled by their focus on customer experience, menu innovation, and company culture.

In addition to more casual dining restaurants, Lazy Dog is exploring new concepts. They plan to launch a fast-casual spinoff brand called Delco in 2023, serving melted sandwiches, salads, and sides. The Delco concept will allow Lazy Dog to move into smaller retail footprints like airports and malls.https://www.nrn.com/operations/how-lazy-dogs-focus-culture-and-innovation-has-driven-growth Lazy Dog also aims to continue improving technology integration and off-premise business in tandem with dine-in growth.

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