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Crisp & Green Inks Multi-Unit Deal, Seeks National Expansion


Former NBA player Kris Humphries, the first multi-unit 'zee for Crisp & Green.

When I met Ryan Burnet at the Minneapolis location of Crisp & Green last spring, the creator of the fast-casual, health-focused concept said the restaurant’s counter-service style is a model that worked immediately, yielding sales and strong volumes, “and it's going to enable us to grow a lot more quickly.”

Although he declined to share any sales figures, Burnet, the owner of several other Minneapolis restaurants said, “We’re way ahead of pro forma much earlier than any of us thought.
“We’ve had a great first few months in Wayzata and the North Loop location is performing well, well enough to convince us that we can grow this a lot more quickly than we thought.”

Just a few months later, Burnet sold a majority stake in Crisp & Green to Steele Smiley, who previously founded Steele Fitness and then sold it to franchisor Snap Fitness while he continued to manage domestic and franchise growth.

“I believe this brand is special and it deserves to be taken to the next level,” Burnet said of the move. “Steele has a strong understanding of what it takes for a brand to win, and has proven his ability to scale and grow companies, especially in the development of a franchise system.”

Crisp & Green officially launched its franchise program in March and recently signed its first multi-unit franchisee, former NBA player Kris Humphries. The Minnesota native is set to develop five locations in and around Minneapolis and, as part of the deal, took ownership of a company location already under construction in the Dinkytown town neighborhood near his alma mater, the University of Minnesota.

Humphries, who played for eight different teams during his 13-year pro career, is also a franchisee of Five Guys and has several burger restaurants in multiple states, including Minnesota. He said he’d been looking for an opportunity in the healthy fast-casual space for a few years, and “nothing compares to the overall opportunity that Crisp & Green offers.”

“The quality of the food, beautiful design, variety of meal options, dedication and experience of Steele Smiley and his team, and most importantly, the performance factors of the business, far exceeded my standards for an investment in a franchise concept,” said Humphries.

With its menu of salads, grain bowls and smoothies, Crisp & Green joins a growing franchise segment aimed at the health-conscious consumer and including the likes of CoreLife Eatery, Freshii, UFood Grill, B.Good and Muscle Maker Grill. The brand, according to Smiley, will stand out not only for its food but also by hosting fitness and wellness events that continue the corporate mission of promoting a healthy lifestyle beyond the kitchen.

“We cater to the busy individual or family on-the-go who wants that healthy option,” Smiley said. “We also partner with like-minded organizations and businesses to bring a wellness perspective and community focus into our restaurants through on-site fitness classes, wellness workshops and expert-led discussions on the importance of self-care.”

Crisp & Green has two company-owned Twin Cities locations open, with a third set to launch this summer.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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