Construction on the long-awaited Cheddar’s Casual Café near Walmart will begin in the next few months, Danville officials announced Wednesday.
Representatives of Greer Companies, a Lexington-based firm with eight Cheddar’s locations in Kentucky, have been trying to get the new restaurant off the ground for years. Complex planning and zoning issues have stalled the process.
Jody Lassiter, president and chief executive officer of the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership, gave the news at Wednesday's EDP meeting.
During many City Commission and Planning and Zoning meetings this year, both residents and city officials expressed hope that the Cheddar’s would finally come to fruition.
A new restaurant in town about which so many people have expressed ongoing interest will help boost the local economy in several ways, Mayor Bernie Hunstad said after the meeting.
“Cheddar’s just has a tremendous amount of interest for people looking for another restaurant in town,” the mayor said. “A restaurant with this much popularity is just going to enhance the livability for the whole area.”
The restaurant is slated to open in August or September and will bring at least 60 new jobs to the area. While Greer Companies typically brings in experienced managers and executives for new franchises, the new Cheddar’s will still offer dozens of part-time and full-time service jobs, Hunstad said. Those jobs have a projected hourly wage of $12.25 including tips, said Greer Companies owner Lee Greer during a December 2011 City Commission meeting.
The restaurant should average anywhere from $4.9-$6 million in annual sales, according to Greer.
“Not only will our community benefit from those tax revenues, but people will be more encouraged to shop locally,” Hunstad said.
Danville’s geographic location could draw people from 13 neighboring counties, Greer said. Whether the Cheddar’s patrons come from Harrodsburg or Williamsburg, they will likely make other purchases such as gas while in Danville, Hunstad said.
Greer also owns 16 Cheddar’s eateries in Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, West Virginia and North Carolina. In his experience, other entrepreneurs build at least one new restaurant soon after Greer opens a Cheddar’s franchise in a community.
City Engineer Earl Coffey deserves much of the credit for getting the project finalized, said both Hunstad and Lassiter. Coffey worked closely with representatives of Walmart, Greer Companies and the Boyle County Industrial Foundation to iron out myriad issues, including developing a plan that Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning members would accept.
“Earl did more than just spend a lot of time on this project,” Hunstad said. “He truly solved problems for Walmart, Greer and the Industrial Foundation.”