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Newk’s Express Café has started 2011 with a bang, awarding 24 new franchise locations in the first quarter. Four separate groups have committed to opening restaurants in Jacksonville and St. Augustine, Florida; Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana; Atlanta; Michigan; and Virginia.
Newk’s partnered with Franchise Dynamics, one of the country’s leading full-service franchise sales outsourcing firms. The partnership led to seven development agreements totaling 36 restaurants in 2010. With deals for 24 locations signed in the first quarter of 2011, Newk’s is on track to exceed its goals for 2011.
“We are very excited about the start of this year. It really shows how far Newk’s has come in a short time,” says Chris Newcomb, president, CEO, and cofounder of Newk’s Express Café. “Our franchise development team, led by Steve Hinkis, and Franchise Dynamics has done outstanding work. Since our initial goal was to open 20 locations in 2011, it is clear we will be surpassing that.”
Created by the founders of McAlister’s Deli (Don Newcomb, Chris Newcomb, and Debra Bryson), who helped pioneer the fast-casual restaurant concept, Newk’s Express Café provides an express casual dining experience and features a variety of made-to-order choices including fresh-tossed salads, oven-baked sandwiches, California-style pizzas, made-from-scratch soups, and homemade cakes baked by Newk’s Bakery Company. A selection of wines by the glass and beer is also available.
Terry and Linda Russell will open five Newk’s restaurants in Jacksonville and St. Augustine. Terry—who has been a farmer for 43 years in Cleveland, Mississippi—sold his farm to move to Florida, where he will oversee the development of these restaurants.
JKTM Management LLC, a group made up of Kent Ward, James Carmody, and Tim and Mona Ward, will start by opening nine Newk’s restaurants. The group, which is a multiunit franchisee of Buffalo Wild Wings, is bringing their vast restaurant experience to Newk’s with plans to open four locations in Baton Rouge and Lafayette and five additional restaurants in Michigan. JKTM hopes to continue expanding the Newk’s concept in the Midwest.
Current franchisee Spencer Mooney is adding to their three-store agreement. Mooney owns Newk’s restaurants in Clinton, Mississippi, and Shreveport, Louisiana, and will open another location in Bossier City, Louisiana. Mooney has added a five-store deal for Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Blacksburg/Christiansburg, Virginia.
Under the company K & M Deli of Savannah LLC, Keith Estapa and Missy Moon will open five Newk’s restaurants in the Atlanta area, targeting Peachtree City, Newnan, Buckhead, Midtown, and Augusta. Moon and Estapa have experience with Five Guys Burgers and Fries, but they recently sold three of their five restaurants back to corporate. They hope to continue expansion and are also looking at Macon, Columbus, and Savannah, with plans to open about 10 Newk’s restaurants in Georgia.