Industry veteran will support the company’s development, and will oversee franchise and company operations
As a seasoned industry leader and restaurateur, James Greco has developed a knack for identifying and developing the ingredients for restaurant success. In his new role as Chief Operating Officer for Newk’s Franchise Company, one of the fast-casual industry’s fastest growing brands, the restaurant veteran will provide leadership for operating success, expand the company’s development program and help hone the 10-year-old company’s brand positioning.
“Newk’s Eatery is already on a strong trajectory because of its unique positioning among second generation fast-casual restaurants,” said Greco. “To accommodate Newk’s explosive growth – more than doubling in size by 2018 – we need to build additional support systems for franchise and company restaurants. I will help guide the development of those systems under the leadership of Chris Newcomb.”
According to Greco, a variety of factors contribute to Newk’s position among the leaders in the fast-casual restaurant space. Among them, he said, is the company’s uncompromising focus on quality and experience, as well as its passion for delivering flavorful food experiences that secure brand ambassadors from their first bite. The diverse menu offers a wide range of culinary delights, including fresh tossed salads, California style pizzas, hot toasted sandwiches, made-from-scratch soups and homemade cakes. Newk’s locally-sourced fresh ingredients, meals that are handcrafted in the restaurants’ open kitchens and an exceptionally warm and welcoming atmosphere are distinguishing elements Greco believes will ensure the brand’s success.
With a background in operations engineering, strategic planning and brand positioning, Greco most recently served as chief executive officer at Sbarro, one of the world’s leading Italian quick-service restaurant concepts, where he was recruited to revitalize the brand. There he redirected and expanded the company development program resulting in a marked increase in new openings last year. Previously, Greco partnered with Sun Capital to acquire and turn around Bruegger’s Enterprises, Inc., which was sold in 2011 following 20 successful quarters of positive same-store sales and numerous acquisitions. Greco also has experience increasing brand value for Fieldbrook Farms and Natural Country farms, manufacturers of private label food service brands.
“Jim shares our passion for Newk’s culinary driven excellence in a hospitality environment, as well as our value for maintaining the tremendous restaurant level economics that are a cornerstone of our franchising success,” said Newk’s co-founder and CEO Chris Newcomb, whose relentlessly uncompromising brand standards and commitment to return on investment have made the company an industry “best bet” for restaurant investors. “His expertise is valuable as we seek to increase density in the southeastern quarter of the US and stretch into new territories.”
The Jackson, Mississippi-based Newk’s Eatery currently has 70 locations across 13 states and will open 15 locations this year, reaching 200 total restaurants by 2018. Newk’s has been listed in Technomic’s top 50 fast-casual chain restaurants nationwide.
Earlier this year, Newk’s Eatery received investment capital from New York-based private equity firm Sentinel Capital. The capital will enable Newk’s to invest in franchise and company-owned restaurant expansion to build a more condensed brand footprint within the Southeast and initiate growth into the Southwest and lower Midwest.
For more information on Newk’s Eatery franchise opportunities, visit newks.com.
Fast casual Newk’s Eatery is passionate about delivering fresh, flavorful food experiences. Newk’s culinary driven menu prepared its open-view kitchens includes made-from-scratch soups, sweet and savory salads, California-style pizzas, oven baked sandwiches and homemade cakes. Rapidly expanding since the first restaurant opening in 2004, Jackson, Miss.-based Newk’s currently operates and franchises 70 units in 13 states. For more information visit newks.com, join the Roundtable Club, or follow Newk’s on Facebook and Twitter.