Grumpy’s Restaurant Kickstarts Franchise Expansion Amid Pandemic

With business booming at its original Orange Park location, Grumpy’s Restaurant has been taking strides in its franchise expansion efforts throughout the pandemic. The beloved award-winning diner concept has now signed for its first two franchisees in St. Johns, FL. 

This announcement comes shortly after the brand signed its first franchisee to own and operate its upcoming location in Middleburg. 

While the pandemic has caused a lot of pushback for many franchise concepts, Grumpy’s Restaurant has taken it as an opportunity to connect with the local community and get to know franchisees that align with the brand’s values. 

Both the Middleburg and St. Johns locations were set to be corporately owned, but President and CEO Daniel DeLeon felt that the candidates were the perfect fit to serve as Grumpy’s first two franchisees. Local owners Leah and Justin Milliken will be opening up the St. Johns location and are proud to join a franchisor with such strong ties to the local area.

“Living in Northeast Florida, we have gotten to know Grumpy’s very well. It’s our family’s favorite restaurant,” said Leah. “We love the atmosphere, food, and culture. This is a great opportunity for us to build a local staple in St. Johns County where families and friends can come together over great diner food. We are also very excited to be able to provide over 40 jobs to people in our local community, even during these crazy economic times.”

Throughout the pandemic, Grumpy’s has made headlines in the Jacksonville community because of DeLeon’s efforts to give back. To keep his staff employed as dining rooms were shut down, DeLeon forfeited his own salary, donated produce to residents who couldn’t afford groceries, and launched a community action campaign to deliver meals to first responders. 

As Grumpy’s expands to new communities in NE Florida, DeLeon is making an effort to partner with franchisees who embody Grumpy’s family-focused values.

“The pandemic allowed us to step up in our community in ways we had never done before,” said DeLeon. “People resonate with our values and this has drawn in franchisees who embody the Grumpy’s culture. We’re looking for family-oriented people who can recreate the same atmosphere that we have in Orange Park in their own home communities. We are so excited to continue franchising and helping people become business owners.”

For more information about the Grumpy’s Restaurant franchise opportunity, visit   


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