Wednesday, January 6, 2021

[UPDATE] Two More Newk's Franchises Have Closed in Atlanta

Casual sandwich, soup, salad & pizza restaurant Newk's Eatery closed at least two Atlanta area units at the end of 2020.  The restaurants, in Smyrna and Atlanta, originally opened in December 2017 and July 2018, respectively.  Real estate sources indicate that both locations had been quietly shopped in advance of their closures, but that both spaces remain available. 

Signage at the Smyrna location, situated in a freestanding 4,570 square foot building in Jonquil [shopping center], indicates that it closed as of December 31, but there is no signage [at the restaurant] to confirm the closure of the  5,125 square foot Howell Mill Square location.  Both restaurants are marked "permanently closed" on Google and closed, but still listed, on the Newk's website.  

Jackson, Mississippi-based Newk's Eatery was launched in 2004 by father and son chefs Don and Chris Newcomb along with Debra Bryson.  The elder Newcomb had earlier launched the McAlister's Deli chain which was sold to Atlanta-based FOCUS Brands in 2005.  Newcomb hoped to emulate the same success with Newk's that he'd had, and later FOCUS experienced, with McAlister's, which now counts nearly 500 units nationwide.  

There were 67 Newk's in March 2014 when the Newcombs sold a majority stake in the business to New York private equity firm Sentinel Capital Partners.  The following year, with fewer than 100 units open, company executives claimed they would have 300 units open by 2018.  As of early 2020, their unit count was about 120, with their total units in operation now closer to 100.  

One thing that may have contributed to the closures in Smyrna and Atlanta was that both locations were significantly larger than what Newk's own marketing materials indicates is the average unit size: 3,200-3,800 square feet.  It seems that the company [and franchisees], eager to open units and grow the brand, may not have been as disciplined as they should have been in their expansion efforts.  

That said, location was also likely a factor in the poor performance and eventual closures of both locations.  The Shumacher Group, an Atlanta-based real estate brokerage, currently has three "highly profitable" Atlanta area Newk's Eatery units under contract, with two of the three larger than the chain's stated average size.  (Steve Josovitz of The Shumacher Group would not disclose the exact locations of the Newk's under contract, but indicated that all three are actively open and in the greater metro Atlanta area.)

Earlier last year, two other local Newk's closed at The Shops at Metropolis (933 Peachtree Street) in Midtown and Commons at Chastain (745 Chastain Road) in Kennesaw.  

Remaining Atlanta area Newk's include those in TOWN Brookhaven in Brookhaven, The Village at Druid Hills on Briarcliff Road, Perimeter Expo in Dunwoody, Tucker Meridian in Tucker, and Kennesaw Marketplace in Kennesaw, among others.  

Are you surprised to see so many Newk's close in metro Atlanta?  What is your favorite casual sandwich eatery?  What would you like to see open in place of the shuttered Newk's locations?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

When did The Shops of Druid Hills become The Village at Druid Hills?

Sarabeth75 said...

NEWKS went a little hog wild with openings in the past couple of years. Apparently one opened close to chastain road but there was a patio fire and it closed soon after opening and I never saw that it reopened. Unfortunately Newks is waaaaay over priced for a sandwich joint. I can’t walk out without paying $15-18 for a lunch and it’s just soup and sandwich. I stopped using them for catering years ago because The prices kept going up and the portions kept going down. They used to have a full sandwich as a serving for catering and one day they showed up with half a sandwich saying that this was now considered a full sandwich but the price had gone up and the sides were considered 2 tablespoons of pasta, etc. sorry if it were high end food and not trying to be considered a daily lunch spot I may be able to do it

Anonymous said...

We patronized heavily when they first open...but then they hire you-know-whats...and many of their attributes decline....complain but it is truth and reality......Many establishments face the same decline and eventual closure scenario.....hmmmm, what to do?

Unknown said...

Not surprised. It’s a food poisoning nightmare. Myself and several friends have gotten sick from eating at Newks! The quality has changed.

Anonymous said...

Yep, they always start with great employees and then lower their hiring standards. Even the chickfila in kennesaw has went to shit bc of this.

Anonymous said...

Yep. Once you lower your employee hiring standards your place goes down! More restaurants need drive-thrus

Anonymous said...

$15 dollar (or more) minimum wage might motivate fast food workers to do better.
...and the racism in this comment thread is pathetic.

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