Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers Makes Powerful Push Into Arkansas

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, Aug. 6, 2018 12:00 am   2 min read

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is a phenomenon. The fast-casual chain, which opened its first store in August 2002 in its hometown of Wichita, Kansas, now has 300 restaurants in 31 states.

In Arkansas, where Freddy’s had four restaurants as of late 2017, the chain now has eight, with at least two more announced and even more likely after that.

Paul Hoover of Wichita heads one of several franchise groups in Arkansas with which the chain has signed agreements. His Arkansas stores are in Benton, Conway, Fort Smith, west Little Rock and North Little Rock, and a Van Buren location is scheduled to open in late fall. Hoover is also scouting sites in midtown Little Rock, Jonesboro, Hot Springs and Pine Bluff.

Hoover has extensive restaurant experience. His company also holds franchises for 35 Taco Bell restaurants in five states.

“We were their landlord at their first location,” Hoover said of Freddy’s. “We’d known those guys for a long time. We watched them for quite a while before we bought territory, and it looked like it was the kind of deal we should jump into, so we did. That was in 2013.”

The privately held Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is a “better-burger concept” restaurant, with a menu that focuses, naturally, on burgers and on frozen custard. (Frozen custard, unlike ice cream, incorporates egg yolks in addition to milk, cream and sugar.) Freddy’s, which has a retro ’50s vibe, is also known for its shoestring fries.

In December, the chain also announced an agreement with Arkansan Kevin Morrow for locations in Cabot, Searcy and Batesville over the next several years. The Freddy’s website says that the Batesville location is “coming soon.”

In June, Forbes named Freddy’s the best franchise to buy in the United States at the high investment level — more than $500,000. The magazine put the midpoint initial investment at $1.3 million and pegged Freddy’s five-year growth rate at 31.3 percent.

Also in June, the restaurant group was the subject of laudatory articles on Thrillist and Thrillist headlined its article “America’s Best Burger Chain You’ve Never Heard About.” Both articles noted the chain’s explosive growth.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steak-burgers was founded by Scott Redler and brothers Bill and Randy Simon. It was named for Bill and Randy’s father, Freddy Simon, a decorated World War II veteran, now 93.

Freddy’s restaurants range from 2,800 to 3,600 SF with indoor seating for about 100. Most locations also have outdoor seating and drive-through service.

“Our development in Arkansas is doing very well,” Hoover said.



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