Emerging Brands

C3 and Craveworthy brands partner to franchise a Mediterranean concept

They plan to grow the three-unit Soom Soom to 80 locations over the next four years.
Soom Soom serves Middle Eastern cuisine such as falafel and pita. | Photo courtesy of C3

Craveworthy Brands has found another emerging brand it hopes to turn into a household name.

The newly formed restaurant group is partnering with digital restaurant company C3 to franchise Soom Soom, a five-unit Mediterranean fast casual. 

C3 has been working to grow Soom Soom under a joint partnership with the chain since 2021. It currently has three brick-and-mortar locations in Southern California and two others in C3 food halls in New York and Atlanta.

C3 and Craveworthy plan to bring Soom Soom to 80 locations across the U.S. by 2027, leaning on Craveworthy’s franchising expertise. They're targeting metropolitan areas, college towns and transportation hubs, a representative said. And unlike many of C3’s other concepts, these will be physical restaurants, not virtual or ghost kitchens.

Craveworthy was established this year by former Jimmy John’s CEO Gregg Majewski with the goal of finding the next big restaurant brand. Its current growth brands are Wing It On, The Budlong Southern Chicken and Krafted Burger Bar + Tap. It also owns three “legacy” full-service concepts: BD’s Mongolian Grill, Genghis Grill and Flat Top Grill.

Soom Soom gives it a piece of the hot limited-service Mediterranean market that is currently dominated by Cava. Soom Soom was founded in 2016 by Zhi Elgar, who immigrated to the U.S. from Israel in the ’90s. Its menu features Middle Eastern staples like shawarma, falafel and hummus, all made with fresh ingredients.

Majewski in a statement said he wants to make Soom Soom a household name. “Soom Soom is a one-of-a-kind brand with unlimited potential in the Mediterranean space,” he said. “We're already thinking up the path forward with our partners and can't wait to get started.”

For C3, it marks the latest in a series of unusual restaurant deals. Earlier this month, the company announced that it would start serving food from its virtual brands on private jets. It also has an agreement with TGI Fridays to put C3's Krispy Rice concept on Fridays' menu. 

C3 also operates food halls and ghost kitchens and has its own app, Go by Citizens, that allows consumers to order from many of its concepts at once. C3 is an offshoot of SBE, the nightclub and hospitality group owned by Sam Nazarian.

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