Newk’s Eatery reports that 2015 was a year for the record books, with a 27 percent increase in the number of restaurants.

The company’s rapid expansion in 2015, with 20 new restaurant openings, six new market entries, and eight new franchisee signings, is the result of Newk’s plans to double in size in the next three years.

In December alone, the company opened six new restaurants, including three on the same day, to increase its store count 6 percent. The company also opened its first locations in Fayetteville, Arkansas; Clearwater, Florida; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Columbia, South Carolina; New Braunfels, Texas; and Lafayette, Louisiana, where the company launched its new Generation 2 prototype.

"When founding Newk’s in 2004, we committed to a rate of growth that allowed us to maintain our high standards for food and service quality," says Newk's president, CEO, and cofounder Chris Newcomb. "We spent the last two years establishing a strong foundation of leadership, technology and service that has allowed us to achieve the strongest growth in our 11-year history.”

Newk’s 2015 franchisee signings will contribute to the company’s growth in 2016, with nearly 18 franchise restaurants, in addition to 12 company-owned restaurants. New development agreements were signed in Houston and San Antonio, Texas; Denver; Columbia, South Carolina; Tampa-St. Petersburg and Palm Beach, Florida; and southern Louisiana.

"With our outstanding food and top-notch franchise partners, we see tremendous long-term potential to bring our unique and beloved restaurants to new guests throughout the Southeast and meet our goal of over 200 locations by 2018,” Newcomb says.

 In addition to franchise-based expansion, the chain will intensify corporate growth. In 2016, Newk’s will open its first company-owned restaurants in Orlando, Florida, and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, and continue further expansion in Jacksonville, Florida.

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