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Lazy Dog Expands in Existing Markets

Lazy Dog Restaurants LLC, a chain founded in 2003, said it will be adding five to seven more locations in five states this year.

The co-founders are set on opening more doors as in-fill for places Lazy Dog already exists.

“That’s the plan, to take some of these markets that we don’t have a huge presence in and grow there,” co-founder and Executive Chef Gabe Caliendo told the Business Journal.

These markets include Texas, Illinois, Nevada, Colorado and California.

Although the restaurant chain operates four stores in Orange County, he said that further expansion in Southern California is a challenge due to the cost of real estate.

“It’s tougher to come by,” Caliendo said.

The firm will end 2024 with 50 restaurants.

Caliendo said he is focused on keeping Lazy Dog at the top of its food game. The restaurateur prides himself on operating a kitchen that creates almost every dish from scratch using homemade ingredients direct from local suppliers.

This allows Lazy Dog to make two to three menu changes each year, including new meals for the chain’s TV dinner line, which was introduced during the pandemic.

The chef recently added a fried rice and spicy tuna dish to the menu for the first time, partly inspired by his admiration for Nobu. When deciding to remove certain fan favorites from rotation, Caliendo said it was to avoid becoming stale.

“We have to be the risk-takers in order to stay ahead of the pack,” Caliendo said.

Lazy Dog grew 11% in revenue last year reporting systemwide sales of $398 million in 2023. The company is ranked as Orange County’s 10th largest restaurant chain, according to Business Journal data.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.
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