Why a Successful Five Guys Owner Gave It Up for a Taste of VooDoo

Jack Flechner Is Betting Florida Will Love VooDoo’s Louisiana Spin on BBQ

Jack Flechner spent six years as a highly successful franchise owner in the Five Guys Burgers and Fries system, itself one of the top-performing food franchises around.

This year, the 39-year-old Flechner decided to leave Five Guys behind and throw in with a growing Louisiana-based barbecue chain that was looking to expand. With a team of partners, he signed an agreement with VooDoo BBQ & Grill to develop 26 restaurants throughout the Sunshine State, including the first in the Miami area in 2012.

Why would Flechner leave a franchising titan like Five Guys for VooDoo BBQ?

“VooDoo is different from other barbecue places in Florida in that it’s fast-casual rather than the kind of Mom-and-Pop shack or the much larger sit-down restaurants that are really prevalent down here,” Flechner said. “I think VooDoo is really well-situated to fill a niche in between. And then, of course, we tried the food. That’s what gets people to come back. We flew up to New Orleans and came back hooked.”

The deal VooDoo BBQ signed with Flechner and his group was the largest in the restaurant chain’s nearly 10-year history, nearly doubling its roster of existing or planned locations. VooDoo operates 12 locations in Louisiana and plans multi-unit expansions into the Carolinas and Texas in addition to Florida.

Flechner thinks Florida’s diverse population will gravitate to VooDoo BBQ’s unique spin on a traditional American food, with Louisiana and Caribbean spices and sauces adding kick to the slow-cooked meat and specially prepared sides that surpass what diners would find in an ordinary barbecue restaurant.

“Barbecue has been a regional kind of thing across the South, but Florida really hasn’t been a part of that,” he said. “This is still a relatively new state. People come here from all over. That’s one reason why we will be successful.”

VooDoo opened its first location in New Orleans on Mardi Gras Day 2002 and has expanded to reach 53 planned locations in six states. VooDoo serves competition-style barbecue beef, pork and chicken with unique side dishes, plus salads and sandwiches, in a clean, colorful fast-casual environment. For more information, visit voodoobbq.com or voodoobbqfranchise.com.