Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Quick-Serve 'Tenders' Restaurant Chain Launched By Owners of 131 MAIN

New Quick-Serve "Tenders" Restaurant Chain Launched

By Owners Of Successful 131 MAIN Restaurants


CHARLOTTE, NC – The owners of the 131 MAIN restaurants in the Charlotte area are building on their successful formula of a limited menu of quality food and attentive service with the launch of Tenders Fresh Food, a "fresh food fast" restaurant chain. 

The new menu will focus on fresh chicken tenders, chicken and pork tenderloin sandwiches, hand-cut fresh fries, four types of milk shakes, cups of fruit, and a variety of beverages. "Everything is fresh," said Mike Vaughn, Chief Operating Officer. "No freezer. The sandwiches are available grilled or fried. We like the term 'fast food fresh' to describe what we're offering." 

The first Tenders Fresh Food restaurant has opened in Cornelius on Highway 21/Statesville Road at Westmoreland Road in a building which formerly housed another restaurant. "This lets us test and refine our operations before designing a new building prototype which we hope to use in several spots around the Charlotte Region, then beyond," Vaughn said.

CEO Joe Douglas explained how the concept began: "The idea occurred to us after learning about a highly successful, limited menu hamburger chain in California named 'In-N-Out Burger,'" Douglas explained. "We learned they're a lot like us – no freezers, fresh product daily, limited menu, privately held. They haven't acquiesced to all the other new things that other chains have, like salad bars and breakfast biscuits. And they emphasize service-oriented people and training, like we do.

"We didn't want to duplicate their menu, but wanted to model their business philosophy," Douglas added. "We're applying our culture of service and fresh food to a different market segment. We're convinced we can outperform our competitors in the quick-serve market segment, differentiating ourselves from the impersonal, mediocre service often experienced in typical fast-food chains."

After discussing the concept with his partners and thinking through the details – "connecting the dots" as they call it – "our team got excited," Douglas recalled. "It started to make sense."          

One Saturday morning around the kitchen table, one of Douglas's daughters came up with the Tenders logo. Partner Chris Carlsen and his wife Susan advocated adding pork tenderloin sandwiches to the menu – something very popular in the Indiana area where they have family, and quite different from the pork barbecue served in the Carolinas. 

Tenders Fresh Food and 131 MAIN are owned and operated by Captiva Restaurant Group based in Cornelius, NC. 131 MAIN restaurants are located on Highway 21/Statesville Road in Cornelius, and East Boulevard and Blakeney in Charlotte.


[Media Contact: Buck Lawrimore, 704-332-4344, Buck(at)

For print-quality renderings of the new Tenders restaurant designs, click here: ]