Two firms that work to help restaurants expand their footprint are set to merge.
Philadelphia-based Watchdog Real Estate Project Management, a real estate consulting firm, has acquired the project management division of Branded Concept Development, which specializes in restaurant development.
By acquiring the New York City-based firm, Watchdog hopes to expand its customer base throughout the tristate area. For BCD, the deal offers an opportunity to take its services nationwide.
BCD has worked with a bevy of local restaurateurs, including Danny Meyers’ Union Square Hospitality Group (which operates Blue Smoke and Marta, among others), Westville and Bareburger, but also counts national chains like Panera and Five Guys among its clients. The firm also has a brokerage division that works with restaurants to identify storefront locations, but that sector will remain separate from the areas acquired by Watchdog.
“Not only does it give the clients the ability to expand outside of New York City, but [for] our clients who still want to expand in their city, [Watchdog] is a much larger firm with more resources than we have,” said Andrew Moger, the CEO and founder of BCD. “It’s a more robust offering to our clients.”
Watchdog provides real estate consulting services across several markets, ranging from hospitality and retail to corporate and nonprofit real estate. As part of its retail services, the company assists tenants in budget allocation and maintenance decisions, identifying potential sites and assisting with its acquisition, obtaining zoning and other approvals and managing the design and construction processes.
The restaurant industry has struggled due to the pandemic, with hundreds of eateries and bars closing throughout the city since the Covid-19 crisis began. But Watchdog president Stephen Fean sees the current moment as an opportunity to invest as the market recovers and rebounds.
“If you’re in New York, you’re going to see a massive rebound,” Fean said. “We’re willing to gamble on that.”