FRANKENMUTH, MI – Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth, the 1,500 seat family restaurant located in Frankenmuth, Mich., has been ranked the number one independent restaurant in Michigan, and for the third consecutive year, number two in the country for the number of meals served among US independent restaurants. The Top 100 Independent Restaurants in the United States report is an annual survey by the hospitality trade magazine, Restaurant Business. In 2016, Zehnder’s served 945,364 guests with an average guest check of $16, the lowest guest check average in the top 100. Total sales registered at $15,083,189, which placed Zehnder’s at #66 among the top 100.
According to Restaurant Business, “There was research indicating the number of independent restaurants declining last year. Still, studies showed independents faring better financially in a difficult market than chains. This really seems to be the dawning of the era of the independent,” industry expert Darren Tristano told Bloomberg this spring. “The independents and small chains are now outperforming. The big chains are now lagging.”
Zehnder’s Chairman and CEO Al Zehnder is optimistic about the iconic restaurant that serves up its famous family-style chicken dinners. “We monitor the trends and concepts in the greater restaurant marketplace. We continue to focus on our menu and entertainment options to reflect the expectations of our guests. Most important, we maintain a tradition of hospitality excellence; our staff of more than 900 is dedicated to providing a high level of service.” New generations of guests have emerged with the opening of Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark. Families and groups can enjoy aquatic fun, shop Main Street and attend many events throughout the year.
“We are happy to be a part of the Top 100; we are one of two Michigan restaurants to make the list. Our neighbor across the street, Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn, is also one of the top independents in the country,” said Zehnder.
Together, while owned and operated independently, the neighboring restaurants serve nearly 1.8 million guests every year. Zehnder’s opened on Mother’s Day in 1929, and served 312 chicken dinners at $1 each. The busiest days each year continue to be Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Zehnder’s Snowfest weekend along with serving over 4,000 to 5,000 guests each weekend day October through December.
“On Thanksgiving Day 2016, we served approximately 7,000 meals including Thanksgiving To-Go. We are already on pace to match that number for 2017,” said Zehnder.
The Bavarian town of Frankenmuth, 90 miles north of Detroit, is one of the state’s top tourist destinations with more than 3 million visitors each year. Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth owns and operates Zehnder’s Restaurant and retail marketplace, Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark, and the 18-hole championship golf course, The Fortress. TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, recognized Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark as a winner in the Hotels for Families category of the 2016 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice™ awards for hotels. Learn more about Zehnder’s at.zehnders.com, or call 800-863-7999,for central reservations for dining, golf, meetings and lodging.