L&L's flourishing fooderies are fanning out
L&L DRIVE-INN and its L&L Hawaiian Barbecue counterpart are expanding so rapidly the company might want to think about including a rabbit in its logo design.
Except of course that aside from the lei-wearing Roberts Hawaii bunny, rabbits have nothing to do with Hawaii.
Founders Johnson Kam and Eddie Flores Jr. aim to have 200 stores by the beginning of next year and company franchisees are opening stores at the rate of one every 10 days. Seventeen have opened so far this year and another 25 are slated to open by the end of the year.
L&L has 50 locations in Hawaii. The Waikiki store is named L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, since that is the name used at the mainland plate-lunch stores. There are some nuances between isle and mainland locations. For one, L&L doesn't sell Spam musubi in Hawaii, but the item regularly sells out at the mainland stores that offer it.
There are now 92 L&L Hawaiian Barbecue locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
There had been two L&Ls in Connecticut, but the operator wasn't able to keep the Hawaii-style plate-lunch concept going.
But wait, 50 in Hawaii, 92 on the mainland, that's 142 -- plus 25, that's only 167. More will have to open before L&L can hit the 200 mark, but anybody who has ever spoken with the determined and energetic Flores can probably see that the company will get there.
The company has set high goals in short time frames and not met them before, such as in 2004 when Flores predicted 180 stores by the end of 2005. However, the company continues to grow, though franchise start-up costs range from $254,300 to $525,400, according to Entrepreneur magazine.
"People want to try something that they have not tried before," Flores said. L&L gives customers that with "generous portions, low prices, ono food and the Aloha spirit," he said.
The company doesn't merely get local ink and other media attention.
It has received national press -- and not just in restaurant industry trades. L&L was named to Entrepreneur magazine's "Franchise 500," moving up to No. 157 this year from 165 last year.
Subway has been on top in at least each of the last three years, but Quizno's, third-ranked in 2004 and 2005, moved to No. 2 on this year's list.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org