Business is booming at restaurateur Todd Jackson’s three Alabama Newk’s Eatery locations, and the fast-casual operator-turned-owner plans to replicate that success in the opening of 10 new restaurants across Alabama and Texas over the next five years. Jackson plans to expand his Birmingham-area business by two additional restaurants this year while simultaneously growing the brand in Austin and Houston, Texas. Jackson recently partnered with investors who own one restaurant in each of the Texas cities, and together they will open three additional restaurants in Houston and five additional restaurants in Austin. By 2019, Jackson will own and operate a total of 15 Newk’s in the southern states, making him the largest franchisee of the 69-restaurant chain.
“Todd and his team saw the potential of our brand early on and skillfully built some of the company’s top-performing restaurants,” said Alan Wright, Newk’s Vice President of Marketing and Franchise Operations. “Together with seasoned, multi-unit franchisees like Todd and the growth capital Newk’s has just received from Sentinel Capital Partners, we are entering a phase of rapid expansion both in our Southeast base and contiguous states.”
Jackson, his wife Sonya and team of partners developed their first Newk’s location in downtown Birmingham in 2007. He co-owns that location, along with two additional Birmingham stores with partners Tom Crowson, Jackson’s father-in-law Dennis Hey and brother-in-law Chris Hey. The team is set to open two stores in the Birmingham suburbs in 2014; both locations should open by the end of the year.
The majority owners in the Texas markets are the Crowson family, who together with Colby Kaminer and Jackson, co-own the current Austin and Houston locations. Together the team will open two restaurants in the Houston suburbs this year, the first of which will open in Katy in mid-July. The group is reviewing locations for a third Houston-area store set to open in the third quarter of 2014 and a fourth scheduled for 2015. Major expansions will begin in the Austin area beginning in March of next year when the franchise team opens the first of five new stores in that market.
“Newk’s uniquely fresh and flavorful food and the friendly, industrious staff at each of our stores have created the perfect experience for our customers,” said Jackson. “That winning combination has helped make Newk’s a favorite place for lunch, dinner and catered meals throughout Birmingham, Austin and Houston.”
The Oxford, Miss. based Newk’s Eatery currently has 69 locations across 13 states and plans to open 15 locations this year, reaching 200 total restaurants by 2019. Newk’s has been listed in Technomic’s top 50 fast-casual chain restaurants nationwide.
The team’s area development agreement closely follows the announcement that 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 lower Midwest.
The fast-casual restaurant serves up fresh-tossed salads, oven-baked sandwiches, California-style pizzas, made-from-scratch soups and homemade cakes from its open view kitchen. Newk’s offers a separate catering menu including a variety of menu options appropriate for large events to small office lunches. Newk’s originality is expressed through the Newk’s Roundtable, a circular table in the center of every location that offers complimentary spices and toppings, allowing guests to customize their menu items. Another original concept is Newk’s Grab-n-Go, which gives busy patrons the option to quickly choose a favorite menu item from the select offerings in the restaurant’s open, stand-up refrigerator case.
For more information on Newk’s Eatery, visit newks.com. For Jackson’s individual locations, visit their Facebook pages (Birmingham, Austin and Houston) or follow them on Twitter at @NewksEateryBham and @NewksAustinTX.
For Newk’s Eatery franchise information, please visit:
As a refreshing casual dining experience in a stylish atmosphere with an emphasis on freshness, flavor and unparalleled customer service, Newk’s Eatery boasts a comprehensive menu of freshly-prepared entrees with sizable portions and exceptional ingredient combinations. Rapidly expanding since the first restaurant opening in Oxford, Miss. in 2004, Newk’s currently operates and franchises 69 units in 13 states. Headquartered in Jackson, Miss., the rights to more than 100 units of the culinary-driven dining concept have been sold across the South. For more information visit newks.com, join the Roundtable Club, or follow Newk’s on Facebook and Twitter.