For the past 50 years, Northern Virginia residents and visitors alike have been enjoying the simple yet delicious delicacies of 24-hour, seven-days-a-week breakfast, lunch and dinner at Bob & Edith’s Diner. From the original 10-stool countertop in Arlington operated by Robert and Edith Bolton to the current four locations in Arlington, Crystal City, Alexandria and Springfield owned by son Greg Bolton, the business remains a staple in Northern Virginia.
Now in 2020, the Bolton family has plans to expand even further with help from Alexandria-based franchise development company Fransmart, which has had its sights set on the brand for more than two decades.
“Bob & Edith’s is a dream brand … it’s iconic, beloved, a family business, slammed busy and run by good people,” says Fransmart CEO Dan Rowe. “I’ve wanted to expand Bob and Edith’s for 25 years. I want people around the country to experience what I experienced.”
Fransmart—credited with discovering and growing now-national burger chain Five Guys and Qdoba Mexican Grill—will work as a strategic partner to Bob & Edith’s, growing the brand in the Northeast at first, and ultimately “worldwide,” according to Bolton.
“We feel our reputation will only grow stronger the more we expand by continuing to deliver great food and service in a clean diner atmosphere,” says Greg Bolton, whose children, Tammy and Chris, now serve as managers of the family business.
In addition to franchising throughout its own backyard in the DMV and Northeast, Bob & Edith’s will open a fifth local location on Lee Highway in Arlington this spring. As the two companies join together to search for the right franchisees, Bob & Edith’s will continue to delight the local community with diner classics like eggs and corned beef hash, pork chops, the B&E Burger (Greg’s favorite) and more.
While Rowe has been speaking with the Boltons about franchising for years, the family wanted to ensure they were completely ready to share the company name before finalizing the partnership last month, which is what Rowe believes to be the big difference between Bob & Edith’s and most franchise concepts.
“The Boltons don’t need to franchise Bob & Edith’s,” says Rowe. “They want to share their gifts with others and wanted to make sure the system was perfect before starting to franchise.”