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Newk’s creates new position, names first COO

Joe Pate, Newk’s Eatery Chief Operations Officer

Newk’s Eatery has named Joe Pate as chief operations officer, a new position that was created to expand the company’s operations team for continued growth.

Pate comes to Newk’s with 35 years of experience in the restaurant industry, serving more than 20 years with Dallas-based la Madeline French Bakery and Cafe, most recently as vice president of operations, where he oversaw la Madeline’s largest franchise group.

At la Madeleine, Pate oversaw operations, catering and support functions. Pate led and grew with the quick-casual concept from 12 to more than units, where he helped transition the company, moving the company from a corporate based concept to a franchise-driven growth company in 2017. As vice president of the largest franchise of la Madeleine, Pate and his team grew the franchise from 25 to more than 40 units in just three years with company-leading results.

“I am confident that Joe will be instrumental to the growth and continued success of Newks restaurant operations with his exceptional track record and deep-rooted knowledge in restaurant leadership,” said Chris Newcomb, CEO of Newk’s Eatery. “Joe has proven to excel in building and growing cross-functional teams with both corporate and franchise operations, combining strategic, results-driven programs, while also cultivating his passion for great food.”

Pate began his food service career at a hometown restaurant in Alvin, Texas and later joined the U.S. Coast Guard where he continued to hone his skills in food service at the Coast Guard Culinary Specialist Academy. After six years, he returned to the private sector where he ran a privately owned restaurant and catering company as well as a Houston based Cici’s Pizza as franchise district manager; collecting a breadth of experience working with corporate and franchise multi-unit companies, and sole proprietorships.

At Newk’s, Pate will oversee both company and franchise operations, as well as catering and operations services. Major initiatives he will lead point on in his new role include performance of new restaurants, food and labor improvement, growth in delivery and catering and restaurant and menu innovation.

“I’m thrilled for the opportunity to join the operations team and bring industry-leading innovation and systems to a brand I truly believe in,” said Pate. “My focus is to use my experience and passion for the food and restaurant industry to propel the growth of our people and our restaurants, setting the bar high in growth and operational excellence.”

Founded in 2004 and based in Jackson, Newk’s Eatery currently operates and franchises 120+ restaurants in 16 states and is gaining national attention for its accelerated growth and commitment to make a difference and Feed What Matters in its communities. 

Newk’s Cares, the philanthropic arm of Newk’s Eatery, was founded in 2014 and is committed to supporting early detection and symptom awareness of ovarian cancer to give every woman a fighting chance. To date, Newk’s Cares has raised over $1.4 million  to support Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance. 


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