Milwaukee-Based Lowlands Group Primed for Expansion
Lowlands Group, owner and operator of seven European-inspired cafés featuring from-scratch cooking and an impressive selection of Belgian and craft beers, is experiencing success and growth with two new restaurants, one of which is outside its hometown market of Milwaukee. Lowland’s two new Café Hollanders, in Mequon and Madison, feature new construction and building designs that open up completely to the outdoors.
“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of each of our recent openings. Customer volume and revenue is higher than expected, and our new guests appreciate the unique concept,” says Dan Herwig, director of brand and marketing at Lowlands Group. "With the addition of our two new locations, revenue growth for Lowland Group's last period is up well above 50 percent over the same period last year.”
The restaurateurs have developed design concepts that are site-specific and cater to each community’s wants, needs and unique aesthetics. The latest location features second floor seating, a large rooftop patio, outdoor pétanque ball court, and strategically placed garage doors and large windows that allow for more than half of the wall space to be open air. The company plans to take this careful design approach to new locations and make each Café unique to the specific neighborhood and community they enter.
To prepare for its aggressive growth strategy in the coming years, the company recently appointed Dave DeMarco as its new director of operations. DeMarco brings 17 years of restaurant and retail operations including particular expertise in scaling up operations.
On new locations, Herwig adds, “We’re looking at markets that have a similar DNA and aversion to chain restaurants like our guests do here in Milwaukee. We want to be near other like-minded restaurants and retail and be an active part of the community.”
In addition to its famous from-scratch dishes and European-inspired atmosphere, beer is a huge part of Lowland Group’s culture, so much so that it keeps over 40 different glasses behind the bar to ensure each Belgian beer is offered with the proper aromatic presentation, head formation and carbonation. It’s team of beer experts, internally known as the Brewminati, meet with breweries, monasteries and other like-minded beer enthusiasts in Belgium each year to explore and taste new beers, while gaining crucial insight to bring back to their café’s and share with customers.
Through its Lowlands Brewing Collaborative, the company frequently collaborates with brewers from across the globe to create exclusive house beers that are available only in its cafés. They also partner with local brewers and will continue to look for local partners as they enters new markets.
Lowland’s expansion continues with a Café Hollander in spring 2017 at The Corners, a new development in Brookfield, Wisconsin, and is actively exploring additional markets.