JACKSON — Newk’s Eatery, the fast-casual restaurant known for its culinary-driven menu and open kitchen, has announced a new development agreement with franchisee Aeolus Group. The multi-unit operators have committed to open 11 Newk’s locations in the Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Lakeland and Clearwater markets in Florida.
The agreement is part of Newk’s growth plans that include opening nearly 30 new company-owned and franchised locations this year. The chain currently has 77 units in 13 states, predominantly in the Southeast.
Aeolus Group is a Five Guys Burgers and Fries franchisee with nine years of experience in restaurant development and management. One of its operating partners is a longtime resident of the Tampa Bay area.
“We know that the partners at Aeolus will be an integral part of our rapid growth,” said Newk’s Chief Development Officer Chris Cheek. “Their extensive hospitality experience in the quick-serve and fast-casual segments is exactly what we need to expand ourFlorida footprint.”
Over the past three years, Newk’s has more than doubled its store count, and plans to reach 200 units by 2018. An acquisition by private equity firm Sentinel Capital Partners in 2014 laid the groundwork for growth, along with the addition of new leadership positions and infrastructure.
Jackson, Mississippi-based Newk’s currently operates and franchises 75 units in 14 states.
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