The “Breakfast at Tiffiny’s” concept began when Tiffiny was working as a waitress at a local restaurant. She had a passion for the industry and worked with integrity, resulting in long lasting relationships with her customers. Many of her regular clients were business owners, and she would casually joke with them about opening a restaurant together. Imagine her surprise when someone actually took her up on the offer!
In late 2011, on Western Michigan University’s homecoming weekend, Tiffiny found herself opening her new restaurant to the public. At the time, opening Breakfast at Tiffiny’s in the little house that had last been a popular eatery for college students seemed like a good move. It was already set up for a restaurant, and was located right off of Western Michigan University’s campus, which was ideal for a large customer base during the school year. The only drawback was that the developer planned to tear down the building and develop a mixed-use complex sometime in the future. Despite this, she decided to take a chance and would figure out what to do when that time came. And so the journey began.
Breakfast at Tiffiny’s claim to fame has always been to serve breakfast all day in the form of fun food with a touch of southern flare. The restaurant that had previously occupied the little house was known for many fan-favorite menu items. Wanting to carry on the tradition of the dish known as the “breakfast stew”, Tiffiny put her own spin on it, creating variations like Hippie Stew, Greek Stew, and the Southwest Stew. Ultimately, her goal was to show people that even eclectic fun food can have a home-cooked feel.
Business was doing well, thanks to the many students and restaurant regulars. After less than two years of being open, Tiffiny received notice that the little house that held her restaurant was finally going to be demolished. Although this came as no surprise, it was sad to think of this wonderful journey coming to an end. Tiffiny couldn’t bear the idea of giving up on her customers and the business she had worked so hard to build. She decided she would find a new location for Breakfast at Tiffiny’s.
Figuring that she could use some guidance from a small business professional, Tiffiny enlisted the help from the Western Michigan University Haworth College of Business to research ideal restaurant locations, as well as put together a plan for a small business loan. After doing some research, Tiffiny’s was drawn to a newly completed shopping center on Centre Street. Thinking that it might be perfect for her restaurant, she once again asked the Haworth College of Business to research the site. After reviewing the area’s demographics (population, schools, average daily traffic), she contacted the developers.
This shopping center is called Greenspire Shoppes, and it is a partnership between AVB and The Hinman Company. Hinman handles the leasing and property management, while AVB handles the construction. Despite feeling incredibly nervous about the risks she was taking, Tiffiny thought the process of leasing and constructing the restaurant went really well. The Hinman/AVB team treated her with respect and went out of their way to help her understand the details throughout the entire process. Tiffiny admits that even when she was starting to stress out about how quickly costs were adding up, she really leaned on the team to help ease her fears and offer support through the entire process.
After months of planning and construction, on Saturday, February 22, 2014, the second Breakfast at Tiffiny’s restaurant quietly opened in Greenspire Shoppes. Although there was no advertising done for the opening weekend, the restaurant’s sales had doubled by the second day of business. With word-of-mouth advertising for the Greenspire location, lots of customers were coming in and business was booming.
For over two months, Tiffiny was juggling both restaurant locations. Her stress level was at an all-time high and she relied heavily on her employees to keep things going when she was at the other location. Having two locations open at the same time was very demanding, but she was lucky to have a staff that she could trust to run the restaurants when she wasn’t there.
When it came time to close the doors to the campus location of Breakfast at Tiffiny’s, it was both heartbreaking and relieving to Tiffiny. She was ending a chapter in her life that she had worked so hard to build, but knew that great things were already happening at her new location. She couldn’t wait to start focusing one hundred percent of her energy on that restaurant.
Since then, Breakfast at Tiffiny’s at Greenspire Shoppes has been enjoying year-round success. Other than having a Facebook page and website, new customers discover the restaurant through word-of-mouth. With a growing customer base, things have been so busy that there is almost always a line outside the door on the weekends and even some days during the week.
The Breakfast at Tiffiny’s mission is to provide a memorable dining experience with a diverse menu and superior service. Because of this, they enjoy the presence of many regular customers with several coming from the former campus location. Even though there have been some changes in menu, the restaurant continues to serve a traditional breakfast along with additions that reflect Tiffiny’s unique flare for “fun food”.
Because business has been so good, less than two years after opening at Greenspire Shoppes, Tiffiny is expanding the restaurant by over 800 square feet. She feels the timing is right and she is ready to further develop her vision for the restaurant. Her plans for expansion are to build a breakfast bar area, expand the existing kitchen to allow more room for catering and add more seating, and storage space. She is most excited about the addition of a grab-and-go counter that will be a fun way to showcase branded merchandise and feature her creations in the form of bulk food.
There is no doubt in Tiffiny’s mind that Greenspire Shoppes is the perfect location for her restaurant. Tiffiny is also confident in her relationship with Hinman and AVB as a prominent resource during the process of developing her business. She had a wonderful experience in the initial leasing and construction process with Hinman and AVB and she expects this upcoming expansion will be no different. Tiffiny has worked hard to bring her vision of what a restaurant should be to life and she is excited to see more growth in the future.
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