Fresh To Order suits Hensley
By Mark Ambrogi
Charlie Hensley got his start in the restaurant business with his Jeffersonville High School classmate John Schnatter, better know as Papa John.
“That’s were I got my start (with Papa John’s),” Hensley said. “He graduated in 1980, and I graduated in ’79.”
Hensley, a Fishers resident, went to serve a co-owner of Penn Station franchises and then as CEO and managing partner of McIndy Ventures, which owned 19 McAlister’s Deli franchises. That was sold in November 2015.
Hensley, 56, opened Fresh To Order in April in in Noblesville. It is the former spot of Paradise Bakery in the Hamilton Town Center.
“When I sold the McAlister venues, I was looking for something that had a menu where the items were made fresh and on site,” said Hensley, CEO of Acuity Restaurant Group. “It’s a quick, casual, upscale restaurant. There is a beverage station with several custom beverages.”
Hensley said this is the first Fresh To Order franchise to open north of Tennessee. Most of the 14 opened so far are in the Atlanta area, where it started. Hensley has a deal to open 10 in the Indianapolis area.
“McAlister’s Deli is a sandwich-oriented concept, and we didn’t really cook anything on site,” Hensley said. “I was looking for a concept where we prepared food from scratch. Most of the items from Fresh To Order are made from scratch, even the sauces we use on the panini (sandwiches). The soups are made from scratch. We have bison and make bison burgers. We have seafood from salmon and shrimp. Everything is fresh; it’s indicative of the name.”
Hensley sat on the franchise advisory council for McAlister’s Deli.
“As a group, we went around Atlanta, and we toured the up-and-coming brands to stay on top of the competition, so to speak,” Hensley said. “This is one I toured, and I liked the food and menu.”
Hensley said he likes that it’s a young restaurant business.
“You get to assist with its development if you have a lot of experience like I do, and you have a lot of territory you can develop if things are successful,” he said. “The food was great, and I thought I had an opportunity to help in its expansion and development.”