In light of the company’s strong financials, ideal locations, and track record that showed that the Jackmont team knew how to run the business, the financing came through and the deal was completed in December 2003. “We weren’t going to squander his efforts and let the naysayers be correct,” says Halpern. Since then, the majority of Jackmont’s focus has been on building Friday’s on the street, though a location at Miami International Airport is scheduled to open this month.
BACK TO SCHOOL?
In addition to its franchise business, Jackmont has existing contracts to provide food services to Morehouse College and Spelman College through joint ventures with Sodexo and Aramark, the food and facilities management giants. Though only about 1% of the company’s total revenues, food services is an area management is considering expanding. “The Friday’s business has been our bread and butter for a number of years, but we look at the education market as an opportunity,” says Branch.
For the time being, however, the company will continue to focus on its restaurant locations in urban areas. “They have a solid leadership group with a proven track record that knows how to drive restaurant businesses,” says Nick Shepherd, president and CEO of Carlson Restaurants. “They’ve mastered running urban locations where there’s high volume and a good mix of bar business as well as restaurant, in very competitive markets where they focus on driving high-quality service because they know how to attract and retain great talent.”