First Watch Opens First Denver Branch, Acquires The Egg & I

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First Watch, a breakfast-and-lunch chain that got its start in California in 1983, opened its first Colorado restaurant this week at 120th Avenue and I-25 in Northglenn. The company plans to add seven more First Watch locations over the next five years along the Front Range, from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, under the ownership of local franchisee Fresh Start Colorado LLC. While eight may seem like a big number to add to the mix of local breakfast eateries, it pales in comparison to the 114 locations of The Egg & I that First Watch acquired this week.

The acquisition of The Egg & I company nearly doubles First Watch's restaurant holdings, which already included 130 locations in seventeen states, nineteen The Good Egg eateries in Arizona, and one Bread & Company in Nashville. The Egg & I was recently ranked the third fastest-growing full-service restaurant in the U.S. by food-service research firm Technomics; it currently has branches in twenty states.

"We’re thrilled to announce that we have acquired The Egg & I – a wonderful 114-unit, Denver-based breakfast and lunch restaurant company," reads a Twitter message from First Watch. 

The Egg & I was founded in 1987 and is currently headquartered in Centennial, under the guidance of president and CEO Don Lamb. “This partnership with First Watch not only allows us to create the largest restaurant company in the breakfast, brunch and lunch category, but it also provides an opportunity to combine the incredible strengths of these two leading brands, creating a better guest experience than ever before,” says Lamb.

Although First Watch began in California, it is now headquartered in Bradenton, Florida. The restaurants offer free wi-fi and morning newspapers as well as full pots of the company's Sunrise Select brand to customers who order coffee.

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