Sbe’s C3 — Creating Culinary Communities, spearheaded by operator Sam Nazarian — and recently formed hospitality group Craveworthy Brands, from former Jimmy John’s CEO Gregg Majewski, announced Tuesday that they are partnering together for the franchising and expansion of Sbe’s Mediterranean concept, Soom Soom.
In an exclusive interview with NRN, Jay Patel, chief business officer of Sbe and Gregg Majewski discussed the two companies’ strategy for growing the Israeli-Mediterranean concept from six locations to more than 80 stores by 2027, with an emphasis on physical stores, even though C3 is known for its arsenal of virtual brands. Through the exclusive franchising initiative with Craveworthy, they predicted that over time, Soom Soom would be bigger than Cava in the Mediterranean fast-casual space.
“When we partnered with the founders [of Soom Soom] our goal was always to expand it—we we wanted to put it in our food halls, and then franchise it,” Patel said. “Looking at the franchising space, there really isn’t a leader in Mediterranean from a national operations perspective. So we interviewed a bunch of people and… decided that the best match was Gregg Majewski and Craveworthy…. For us, it was all about ‘how can we make this business efficient and franchisable across the country?’”
Soom Soom is a Los Angeles-based brand with six brick and mortar locations and a simple, pita-focused menu with shawarma, kebobs, and hummus as popular options. Although limited-service Mediterranean concepts are a hot market right now, Majewski said that what makes Soom Soom unique is the founder Zhi Elgar’s immigrant story as he utilized his authentic Israeli food to launch his business and achieve the American dream.
Majewski said this was only part of the reason why he felt C3 and Craveworthy Brands would be a fitting partnership:
“Sam and C3 are revolutionizing the branding experience, and that’s something that I take great pride in and my team loves to do as well,” Majewski said. “We feel we are a perfect match because we can take great brands that they’ve acquired and then expand them across the country through the franchise model extremely fast…People might looks at this partnership and wonder why we are a fit, but Sam and I look at this partnership and think, ‘why haven’t we done this sooner?’”
As C3 and Craveworthy work together to accomplish their lofty goal of increasing Soom Soom’s store portfolio by more than tenfold over the next four-plus years, they are focused on the major metropolitan markets across the United States, with a focus on where their competitors have been successful and college towns, as well as transportation hubs. Although they would not provide details, both Patel and Majewski said this would not be the last time the two companies partnered together.