The New Umbrella Franchisor Includes Wing It On!, The Budlong, Krafted Burger Bar + Tap and Lucky Cat Poke Company
Veteran franchise restaurant executive Gregg Majewski partnered with the new merchant banking division of FG Financial Group to form Craveworthy Brands. The new umbrella franchisor includes emerging fast-casual dining brands Wing It On!, The Budlong, Krafted Burger + Tap and Lucky Cat Poke Company.
Majewski is currently CEO of Mongolian Concepts (Genghis Grill, BD’s Mongolian Grill and Flat Top Grill). Previously he had served as the CEO, chief operating officer and chief financial officer for Jimmy John’s.
A Clean Slate with Craveworthy
Majewski will marshal his long industry experience to provide consumers and franchisees with varied dining-out concepts that emphasize efficiency and value. “I’ve seen the restaurant world from so many perspectives over the years. It is clear to me that the industry requires a new way of thinking, given the new cost structure and commoditized experiences out there now,” Majewski said in a news release. “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.”
As founder and CEO, he pledges that the new company “has the potential to provide many pathways for our employees and franchisees to live and achieve the American dream. The resources we’re bringing together are capable of creating remarkable value for consumers and restaurant operators.”
Two of the Craveworthy concepts are brands it has acquired. Majewski and his team recently created and launched the other two brands in the portfolio.
Two Acquired Brands: Wing It On! and The Budlong
Craveworthy acquired Wing It On!, which starts with fresh, never-frozen chicken wings, in January. The wing franchise made the Inc. Magazine 5000 list of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies and was honored as having America’s No. 1 Buffalo Sauce at the 2022 U.S. Chicken Wing Eating Championship. The brand is in big markets such as Atlanta; Connecticut, where it originated and has three units; Long Island, N.Y.; New Jersey; and Orlando. Key company leaders will remain with the company, including founder Matt Ensero, who will serve as brand president. The other acquired brand is The Budlong, a Nashville hot chicken concept with three traditional locations along with one in a food hall and another in a ghost kitchen format. All units are located in the Chicago market.
Two Start-Up Brands: Krafted Burger Bar + Tap and Lucky Cat Poke Company
Craveworthy has prioritized expanding the footprint of two brands it has created: Krafted Burger Bar + Tap and Lucky Cat Poke Company. Craveworthy leaders are solidifying the restaurants’ current operations and plan to start additional corporate-owned restaurants.
Krafted Burger Bar + Tap recently opened in the Promenade mall in Bolingbrook, Ill. A second location is expected to open soon in Elmhurst, Ill.
Within the next couple of months, a Lucky Cat Poke Company restaurant will debut in Oak Brook, Ill., at Oakbrook Center. Lucky Cat also plans ghost-kitchen units nationwide. The brand’s poke dishes are inspired by global flavors, the news release stated.
Craveworthy’s Leadership Team
Chef Robert Kabakoff and Majewski are in charge of menus at all Craveworthy brands. Kabakoff said the franchisor is “placing our flag in the ground” to bring innovative dishes to customers. Other executives move to Craveworthy after leadership roles at Einstein Bros. Bagels, First Watch, Giordano’s Pizza and McDonald’s. They are: Neil Quinn, chief financial officer; Lori Cominsky, vice president of operations; Blake Johnson, vice president of marketing; Justin Egan, vice president of marketing in charge of franchise development and digital strategy; Becca McIntyre, vice president of culinary and supply chain; Jason Levinson, vice president of technology and IT; Cassie Miller, senior director of training and operations; Rich Guckel, vice president of development; and Kristin Albert, director of operations.