Operations

Former Jimmy John’s CEO launches new platform for growing fast-casual brands

Gregg Majewski partnered with FG Financial Group Inc. to create the new Craveworthy LLC.
Wing It On! was acquired in January and serves as one of the four Craveworthy brands./Photo courtesy of Craveworthy.

Jimmy John’s veteran and CEO of Mongolian Concepts Gregg Majewski has launched a new platform to grow—and possibly acquire—fast-casual restaurant brands.

In partnership with FG Financial Group Inc., Majewski on Thursday debuted the newly created Craveworthy LLC, which is launching with four initial restaurant brands under its umbrella:

  • Wing It On! This 12-unit chain was acquired by Craveworthy in January. With a menu of wings, sandwiches and dumplings, it operates in Connecticut, Alabama, New Jersey, Georgia, North Carolina, New York, Texas and, soon, Florida. Founder Matt Ensero will serve as the brand's president.
  • Krafted Burger + Tap: Created by the Craveworthy team in Bolingbrook, Ill., Krafted is known for burgers, brunch and brews. A second unit is coming soon to Elmhurst, Ill. The menu was created by chef Robert Kabakoff, who also has consulted for Mongolian Concepts, Yum Brands, Hillstone Restaurants and others.
  • The Budlong Hot Chicken: Also an acquisition, this Nashville hot chicken concept created by Chicago restaurateur Jared Leonard of Stone Soup Collective, with four outlets, including a ghost kitchen, in the Windy City.
  • The Lucky Cat Poke Company: Also developed by Craveworthy, this concept is scheduled to launch in Oak Brook, Ill., in early 2023.  Another 50 ghost kitchen locations are also planned.

And the group is looking to grow through both franchising and acquisitions.

“Each of our current brands is primed for significant growth, both through additional franchise locations and through Craveworthy-owned locations,” said Majewski, Craveworthy’s CEO, in a statement. “In addition, we are cultivating potential acquisition opportunities that can further add to Craveworthy’s platform growth.”

Majewski is a former COO, CFO and CEO of the Jimmy John’s sandwich chain, where he grew that brand from 33 to 300 restaurants, with another 600 sold. He also restructured that brand’s operational standards and was behind the focus on the “Freaky Fast” marketing strategy.

He is building Craveworthy while also serving as CEO of Mongolian Concepts, the parent of Genghis Grill, FlatTop Grill and Bd’s Mongolian Grill.

"I've seen the restaurant world from so many perspectives over the years, and it is clear to me that the industry requires a new way of thinking given the cost structure and commoditized experiences out there," Majewski added in a statement. "That's why we created Craveworthy. We have a clean slate but a ton of relevant industry 'muscle power' to come out of the gates strong and sustain it. The new company clearly has the potential to provide many pathways for our employees and franchisees to live and achieve the American Dream."

FG Financial is a reinsurance and asset management holding company. Craveworthy is a second project under the group’s newly formed merchant banking platform, which was created with a business combination agreement with tech company iCoreConnect.

Kyle Cerminara, FG Financial’s chair and fundamental global CEO, said in a statement, “We are excited to launch Craveworthy with Gregg at the helm. This is a great opportunity to be part of a multi-brand platform and a franchise-focused organization with the potential for a continually growing royalty stream. Our goal is to help grow Craveworthy into one of the most well-respected and largest restaurant brand platforms in the nation.”

UPDATE: This article has been updated with new information from Craveworthy and to clarify that Gregg Majewski has not left Mongolian Concepts.

 

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