Newk’s Eatery, a fast casual brand known for its culinary-driven menu and open-view kitchens, is doubling down on its Jacksonville, Florida, presence with the acquisition of two franchise-owned locations, along with plans to open as many as half a dozen more restaurants between the River City and St. Augustine. The first such location is scheduled to open in the Claire Lane Center on San Jose Boulevard in January 2016.
“Our plans to build out the Jacksonville market are part of a strategy to increase density in our Southeast footprint, while expanding contiguously up the East Coast,” says Newk’s cofounder and CEO Chris Newcomb. “Florida is our most rapidly expanding market—with as many as 30 new restaurants scheduled to open in the state in the next five years.”
Over the next year alone, Newk’s Eatery plans to open new restaurants in six Florida cities. A location in Clearwater is scheduled to debut before yearend in 2015, while locations in Jacksonville, Sarasota, Orlando, Palm Beach Gardens, and Pensacola are scheduled to open in 2016. In early November, Newk’s also announced a new development agreement with Pat Tracy and his family of seasoned restaurateurs in Palm Beach County. The Tracy family will open 10 Newk’s locations in Southeastern Florida’s Palm Beach and Broward counties.
“Newk’s commitment to aggressive growth throughout Florida is matched by franchisees with deep knowledge of the region and extensive experience in fast-casual restaurants,” says Newk’s chief development officer Chris Cheek. “The potential for a robust introduction to the Newk’s brand and its enhanced fast-casual experience in the state is incredibly strong.”
The Jackson, Mississippi–based Newk’s Eatery chain will open almost 25 new company-owned and franchised locations this year throughout the region, with plans to reach more than 200 units by the end of 2018.