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Newk's looking to open more than two-dozen locations next year

Chris Newcomb

Chris Newcomb

JACKSON — The fast-casual restaurant chain Newk’s Eatery plans to open more than 25 new company-owned and franchise restaurants in the Southeast next year and is actively engaged with experienced multi-unit operators in new markets to add to the growth, according to a release from the company.

The company’s announcement comes as Newk’s ramps up its franchise growth plans and wraps up 2014. In total, the company expects 16 percent new store growth in 2014, including six franchise locations set to open in November and December.

“Our growth to date has been calculated as we tested and ultimately proved our concept,” said Newk’s President and CEO Chris Newcomb, who founded the company in 2004. “In 2014, we saw much higher than average growth in existing and new units, and we are ready to build on our strong foundation.”

Over the past two and a half years, the company has doubled its store count to more than 70 units. Private equity firm Sentinel Capital Partners acquired a majority interest in the company in Q1 2014. To further bolster growth, the chain added two new leadership positions – chief operating officer and chief development officer – filled by industry veterans Jim Greco and Chris Cheek, respectively.

“Fast casual continues to be a driving force in the restaurant industry, and we are taking the segment to a new level with the finest ingredients and hospitality,” said Greco. “With our differentiated position in a thriving category, Newk’s is a compelling franchise opportunity.”

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