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Deal Tracker: Newk’s food, culture a fit for multi-brand ‘zee


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David Weeks

Newk’s Eatery “checked all the boxes” for David Weeks as he researched a third franchise brand to add to a portfolio that already included Barberitos and Dunkin’, with two criteria standing out. “No. 1, the food, that’s the most important one to us,” said Weeks, who will open two Newk’s restaurants in the Athens market, about 70 miles outside Atlanta in northeast Georgia. “I wanted a concept where the food is made in house and it’s not all shipped in from some commissary.”

No. 2, said Weeks, “is a brand that fits with our culture.” As he’s grown Barberitos to five locations and Dunkin’ to seven, Weeks said he’s worked to “maintain that mom-and-pop” ownership feel with employees and felt Newk’s took a similar approach with its franchisees.

“Other franchisees had nothing but great things to say about them,” said Weeks of his validation process that involved talking with several Newk’s operators, many of them also multi-brand franchisees. “They were all really excited about Newk’s and very encouraged by the financials that Newk’s puts out.”

A fast-casual restaurant serving sandwiches, salads and pizzas prepared in open kitchens, Jackson, Mississippi-based Newk’s has 120-plus restaurants in 16 states, though the closest to Athens, also home to the University of Georgia, is 45 minutes away in Lawrenceville. Weeks said there’s strong brand awareness of Newk’s and he believes it stands out from competitors Panera and Jason’s Deli, both of which have one location in Athens. “The Athens market can definitely handle more, and obviously we think Newk’s is the best of these.”

The addition of Newk’s is also a way for Weeks to provide more opportunities for his roughly 200 employees, some of whom have been with him for more than 10 years. These “seasoned managers” will help open Weeks’ first Newk’s later this year and another in 2020, which “will allow other folks to step up and fill their shoes,” he said.


Pizza

Salad

Pizzas and salads are prominent on the menu at Newk’s Eatery.

Quick Hits

Ike’s Love & Sandwiches, which began franchising in April, signed its first multi-unit agreement for 10 locations throughout Utah and greater Las Vegas with Freddy Smith, owner of Fabulous Freddy’s Car Wash locations.

Floyd’s 99 Barbershop is expanding its Florida footprint to the Tampa area, signing a five-unit agreement with local business partners Eric Peerless and Judah Rubin.

Nekter Juice Bar will grow via multi-unit development signings in Tennessee and Kansas. In Tennessee, 2nd Harvest LLC will open five restaurants, while in the Kansas City market Marissa and Raymond Anden signed a five-unit agreement.

Kitchen Tune-Up signed a 10-unit agreement with Victor Galaviz to open locations of the kitchen updates franchise in the Dallas-Fort Worth market in Texas.

Blaze Pizza signed a six-unit deal with Dianne Mayer to open locations in Wisconsin, including in Madison, Appleton, Fox Valley and Green Bay. Mayer also operates nine Culver’s restaurants.

Teriyaki Madness signed a deal with Jimmy John’s franchisees Necia and Shane Bulloch and Lance Jackson to open three teriyaki shops in St. George, Utah.

I Heart Mac & Cheese will enter the Texas market, starting in College Station, following the recent signing of a four-store development agreement with Fidelity Enterprises LLC.

Rush Cycle, an indoor cycling concept, signed four multi-unit deals for a total of 18 locations to expand in Florida, Texas, New Jersey and California.

Choice Hotels signed an agreement with Legacy Partners, LLC, owned by Sazmin Momin and Afsha Maknojia, to develop five Sleep Inn hotels outside of Houston, Texas, with the first slated to open in 2020.

Deal Tracker is the place to find news of multi-unit development agreements, brought to you by Editor Laura Michaels. Want more? Sign up for the semi-monthly e-newsletter at franchisetimes.com/e-newsletter. To share your brand’s multi-unit deals, email details to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com

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