Taste something special at Fifth Group Restaurants

SouthState Brent Adams and Steve Simon of Fifth Group Restaurants in Atlanta

An Atlanta restaurant group has built lasting growth in a crowded industry. You’d like to go out to eat tonight. The question is, where?

With many cities now offering hundreds of options within a two- or three-mile radius of each neighborhood, it’s never been more challenging for a restaurant to stand out from the pack.

But in Atlanta, Fifth Group Restaurants has managed to do just that. In the face of changing trends, economic downturns and a constant influx of new competitors, Fifth Group’s eateries have steadily built a presence and reputation that has continued growing for nearly 30 years.

From the first South City Kitchen location opening its doors in Midtown back in 1993, Fifth Group has expanded to include 14 exciting culinary establishments – along with a catering and design business and other ancillary investments.

“Expectations from customers have changed a lot,” says Steve Simon, founder of Fifth Group and its management company, Next Generation. “Not only are there so many more options, but the rise of food on tv and on social media means that customers are exposed to a level of cuisine they may not have had access to in the past.”

How has the organization continued to find success in the midst of such relentless pressure?

“A lot of it has been down to our approach,” Steve reflects. “We’re always looking to do something current but nothing that’s too trendy. It’s not scientific. We fall in love with locations and bring to those locations quality food, service and design elements. We make choices on what we believe is going to last.”

Of course, it helps having an experienced banking partner one can trust. And Steve has had SouthState’s Brent Adams by his side since 2010.

“I first started working with Steve by helping finance Lure toward the end of the 2008 financial crisis,” says Brent, who is SVP, Area Executive of Decatur and Buckhead South at SouthState. “We were able to embrace him and what he’s doing. He’s an experienced operator with a track record of success, and we chose to take a credit risk in helping him open up a new restaurant. Since then, we’ve developed a mutually beneficial relationship based on trust and transparency.”

Steve is more than aware of how uncommon it can be for restaurants to find bankers who are willing to look at the big picture.
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Restaurants are seen as unpredictable, and even though we’ve been successful, we’re not able to finance new locations purely from cash flow. We need help. And thankfully Brent has been there for us.

Steve Simon, founder of Fifth Group and Next Generation

“Being in the restaurant industry, it was our experience that banks weren’t very fond of us,” Steve explains. “We’d been with a few larger ones, and I’d become frustrated. Restaurants are seen as unpredictable, and even though we’ve been successful, we’re not able to finance new locations purely from cash flow. We need help. And thankfully Brent has been there for us.”

Providing Depository and Treasury Services products, as well as financing, Brent and SouthState have played an important role in Fifth Group’s ongoing growth.

“I’m proud of the work we’ve done with Fifth Group,” Brent says. “We helped finance South City Kitchen Buckhead, and I actually had my rehearsal dinner there the night before my wedding. I’ve always believed in Steve, and I think of these restaurants as special places.”

With shining lights in the Atlanta food scene Ecco, Lure, La Tavola, Alma Cocina, and El Taco all part of a growing constellation, the future looks bright for Fifth Group Restaurants. We at SouthState (as well as local foodies) are excited to see what’s next around the corner!

SouthState helps entrepreneurs like Steve Simon realize their vision. To learn more, contact a commercial banker today. To learn more about Fifth Group Restaurants, visit their website.

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