Eton will soon be on the cutting edge of fast food, thanks to Domino’s Pizza franchise owner Todd Nelson.
Nelson, who owns six Domino’s across North Georgia, plans to move his Chatsworth store to Eton, and he was there earlier this year with a company official looking for a good location. That’s when he first heard of Domino’s new module stores.
“It is a new concept, and I’ve never heard of it. It was still in the concept state, but as I looked at it, it made a lot of sense,” said Nelson, who has been a Domino’s franchise owner for 22 years.
Basically, the modular unit is an 1,100-square-foot building put together to Domino’s specifications at a factory in Illinois.
“They’ll put it on the back of an 18-wheeler and bring it down here and slide it off on my lot,” Nelson said. “This will be the first one in the nation.”
Nelson said the modular unit has two big advantages over a traditional restaurant building.
“It’s classified as equipment, so the depreciation schedule is much shorter. It’s a seven-year schedule versus a 20- or 25-year schedule for a traditional building,” he said. “Also, if for some reason I want to move this building, I can pick it up and move somewhere else.”
Despite his success in the pizza delivery business, Nelson has found relocating to be a bit more of a challenge than he anticipated.
“I found out pretty quickly that banks are not looking at restaurants as a viable lending option because of the economy,” he said. “So basically, I’ve had to take out all my savings, my 401(k)s and my IRAs, use some of my reserve funding in my business and borrow money against my vehicles to come up with money for the building.”
Nelson has an option to purchase the land and has paid for the modular unit, which is currently being built. But he says the exact date of opening depends on getting the rest of the funding he needs.
“I’m using cash generated from my other restaurants,” he said.
But he says moving from Chatsworth, which has plenty of restaurants, to Eton makes the venture worthwhile.
“Going to Eton would separate me by about four miles from everybody else. Also, I’d be able to capture all of the traffic on (Highway) 411,” he said. “By moving up to Eton, I’ll be able to pick up an additional 2,000 addresses. At the same time, I’d still be able to deliver down south to Chatsworth and only lose a couple of hundred addresses.”
Nelson’s Chatsworth store currently employs six. He said he expects to add eight more after the move to Eton is complete.