Rise Biscuits Donuts officially rebranded as Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken Tuesday, and changes to the restaurant’s menu and design have already gone into effect.
Rise was founded in 2012 as a single biscuit and donut shop in Durham. Now, the restaurant has 15 locations throughout the Southeast and over 100 franchise locations under contract. As the company grew, Rise CEO Tom Ferguson said it became harder to replicate the same quality doughnuts they had been making when the first restaurant opened.
With that struggle in mind and the fact that Rise's unique take on doughnuts was losing its trendiness with more businesses offering doughnuts, Ferguson thought it was time for a new focus.
In the updated concept, Rise will shift its primary focus to its Southern biscuits and chicken, while doughnuts will play a reduced role on the menu.
“That’s really what we decided to do: focus on what we do well,” Ferguson said. “The doughnuts got people in the door the first time, but the biscuits kept them coming back.”
The rebranding process has been going on for the past year, Ferguson said. The new concept motivated several changes, including an upgraded catering menu, an elevated in-house menu with a biscuit focus, the addition of an internal delivery service, and increased participation on food delivery services such as Uber Eats, Grubhub and DoorDash.
Renovations to the interior design of the stores in Carrboro and Durham started in the fall and continued with menu upgrades to include a focus on innovative savory and sweet biscuit recipes. Rise has already introduced cheddar and sweet potato biscuits as alternatives to the classic buttermilk biscuit, and its menu will continue to incorporate savory biscuit toppings from bacon to fried green tomatoes to fried chicken.
Doughnuts will still be available at Rise, but biscuits will make their way onto the sweet side of the menu as well. Rise is introducing several creative biscuit-centric dessert items including a glazed blueberry biscuit, a flaky strawberry biscuit and cinnamon pecan biscuit rolls.
Ferguson said he’s excited about the new concept and hopes it will be a success.
“What we’ve found is that we lost some sales from people who came for the doughnuts, but we’re more profitable off the money that we do make, and we’re more proud of the product,” Ferguson said. “ ... That’s really more important to me than money."
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