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, the most recent deal being for their upcoming restaurant opening in St. Johns, FL. Slated to open early 2021, Grumpy’s second franchise location will be opening up at The Fountains at St. Johns, 1610 CR210 West.
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.”
Leah and Justin have committed to opening one Grumpy’s at this time, but are hopeful to open multiple locations in the future. Moving forward, Grumpy’s Restaurant is eyeing other towns in Northeast Florida to open franchisee-owned locations. The brand is seeking out hardworking individuals looking to follow their entrepreneurial spirits in Mandarin, Fruit Cove, Ortega, Southside, Wildlight, Beaches, Yulee, Amelia Island, and St. Augustine.
The award-winning diner prides itself on high quality comfort food, sweet southern hospitality all at a working-class price. Grumpy’s serves breakfast, lunch and brunch along with an array of daily and weekly chalk board specials which include a variety of sandwiches, homemade soups, salads, signature coffee, fresh squeezed juices, homemade hot chocolate and desserts. The diner classics and innovative twists have brought in numerous awards and accolades, including Jacksonville’s “Best Overall Restaurant” by the Florida Times-Union.
Including a franchise fee of $40,000, the initial investment necessary to open a single location ranges between $331,200 and $805,000. Each Grumpy’s Restaurant location will occupy approximately 2,700 square feet of real estate and will have approximately 106 seats.
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