Marquette University alumnus, businessman and television personality Marcus Lemonis, is bringing a new fast casual restaurant, The Simple Greek, to Milwaukee and 19 other markets.
Lemonis — who stars on “The Profit,” a reality show where he turns around struggling businesses across the U.S. and buys an ownership stake in the companies — announced the expansion plans with the Greek restaurant that was featured on his CNBC series this week. A total of 53 franchises are slated to open over the next few months, with several being located in Wisconsin, according to a press release.
“Coming from a Greek family, I am particularly excited to expand The Simple Greek dining experience across the country and give our customers convenient access to delicious and healthy food with reasonable prices,” Lemonis said in the release. “We look forward to meeting customers when we open our doors for the first time in each new city, and to have them sample our wonderful authentic food.”
A 1995 graduate of Marquette, Lemonis is chairman and CEO of Marcus Lemonis LLC; Camping World, the nation’s largest RV and outdoor retailer; and Good Sam Enterprises, the world’s largest RV owner’s organization. Lemonis’ relationship with The Simple Greek began back when the Pittsburgh chain — then known as My Big Fat Greek Gyro — was featured on his show. The two parties embarked on a partnership, which led to the chain being rebranded and revamped as The Simple Greek.
There are presently four locations in The Simple Greek chain: three in the Pittsburgh metro area and one in Highland Park, Ill. Each location features a Greek yogurt bar complete with toppings and an open assembly line model so that diners can create their own custom gyros, salads and sides.
“We are actively reviewing franchise applications, identifying growth opportunities and seeking out future markets for expansion,” said Samuel Lundy, vice president of food and hospitality. “We have received an overwhelming amount of inquiries over the past year in regards to bringing The Simple Greek brand to new communities.
Lemonis is also a financial backer of Bentley’s Pet Stuff, a pet store chain based in the Chicago area that’s making a heavy push into the Milwaukee market. Bentley’s has already purchased two local pet stores and has unveiled plans for more locations in the area.