MRM Franchise Feed: International Expansion Opportunities, Shaq’s Doughnuts and Venison at Arby’s

Modern Restaurant Management magazine’s Franchise Feed offers a glimpse at what’s new in the restaurant franchise environment. Send items of interest to Content Director Barbara Castiglia at

Pizza Inn Honors Franchisees
Jill Neilsen, Bob Clairday and Pizza Inn President Bob Bafundo

Pizza Inn honored its top franchisees at the annual Pizza Inn Convention in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. On Tuesday, October 18, the brand honored longtime franchisee Bob Clairday with the H.M. Poythress Award and franchisee Daven Acker was name Franchisee of the Year. 

“Pizza Inn is truly America’s hometown pizza restaurant due to the hard work and dedication of our franchisees,” said Pizza Inn President, Bob Bafundo. “We have so many second and third generations franchise owners that take such pride in making their restaurants wonderful centers of their communities.  The Pizza Inn Convention is like a big family reunion where we celebrate this success.”

Jill Nielsen, daughter of H.M. Poythress and second-generation Pizza Inn franchisee presented the H.M. Poythress award to Arkansasfranchisee Bob Clairday, a 42-year franchisee, for consistently demonstrating a passion for the highest quality products and services for the Pizza Inn brand.  Clairday started selling Canadian bacon to the local Pizza Inn franchisee in 1967 and then bought two locations in Jonesboro in 1974.

“Bob and my daddy served on multiple Pizza Inn boards together over the years,’ said Nielsen.  “They both loved this brand and they spent many years helping to make it successful for the next generation.  My dad would be so proud that Bob received this award.”

Daven Acker, multi-unit franchisee from South Carolina received multiple awards including the Griff Glover Franchisee of the Year Award for symbolizing exemplary dedication to customer satisfaction, community service and team leadership.  Mike Glover, son of Griff Glover second-generation franchisee, presented the award to Acker.

Larry Rust, franchisee from Paducah, KY received the Extreme Makeover award for sales growth due to remodeling efforts.  Jamey Brown from Knoxville, TN received the Paul Turner award for his personal contribution and commitment. Top Sales award went to Rocky Mount, NC and franchisee Steve Stancil.

In 1958, two Texas brothers opened the first Pizza Inn across from the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.  Pizza Inn was recently inducted in to the Pizza Hall of Fame by PMQ Magazine. Pizza Inn is a subsidiary of RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc., which owns, franchises and supplies more than 300 Pizza Inn and Pie Five restaurants operating domestically and internationally.

New Franchise Inks 12-Unit Deal

Blast & Brew, a fast-casual Neapolitan pizza restaurant offers artisanal pizzas and more than 30 taps of self-pour craft beer, along with other customizable food options backed by experienced California restaurant group Milano International inked a 12-unit deal on the Central Coast of California.blastlogosvgThe Blast & Brew experience starts with fresh, hand-stretched pizza dough. Guests then choose from more than 40 locally-sourced and regionally-tailored ingredients and house-made sauces, before their masterpiece is fired to perfection at 825 degrees. In addition to unlimited varieties of pizza, Blast & Brew offers signature split-focaccia sandwiches, fresh salads, and a variety of hearty appetizers, like Carnitas Pork Sliders with jalapeno slaw, served on a fresh, house-made bun, and a Crispy Brie Crostini served with honey and a balsamic glaze.

Guests also have the option of customizing their beer experience through a pre-paid program that allows them to choose from more than 30 local and regional craft brews that they pour themselves. Blast & Brew’s Beer Geniuses guide guests through the beer offerings, helping them choose the best selection to pair with their meal.

“People have always had control over their pizza, but Blast & Brew offers a 100 percent customer-crafted dining experience, from the meal to the beverage that accompanies it,” said John Ferdinandi, CEO of Blast & Brew’s parent company Milano Restaurants International. “Our team has been hand crafting pizzas for over 50 years, and has partnered with California-grown craft breweries since the 90s – creating a recipe for success at Blast & Brew.”

California-based franchise group Cristallo Ventures L.L.C. has signed a 12-unit agreement to develop Blast & Brew locations throughout Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties over the next eight years. The group currently operates a franchised Blast & Brew in San Luis Obispo, which opened in March 2016.

Milano Restaurant International Corporation operates a portfolio of five distinct restaurant concepts with more than 70 combined locations primarily throughout central California. The group has been serving award-winning pizza since 1955, with CEO John Ferdinandi leading the company since 1994.

Blast & Brew is seeking qualified franchise partners with restaurant experience to develop Blast & Brew restaurants in prime territories across the southwestern region of the U.S., including metropolitan areas such as Phoenix and Dallas, as well as heavily populated college towns. Blast & Brew locations require between 1,200 and 3,400 feet of retail space, with patio, dine-in and carry out opportunities. Franchise prospects should have restaurant or retail experience and the total investment to become a Blast & Brew franchisee ranges from $700,000 to $950,000.

Disruptive Taking Cleo to the Middle East

Disruptive Restaurant Group, a subsidiary of sbe, plans to bring its  Mediterranean restaurant, Cleo, to the Middle East in partnership with leading international franchise operator M.H. Alshaya. Fifteen Cleo locations will come to market starting 2017 in Middle East destinations including the United Arab EmiratesQatarSaudi Arabia,EgyptBahrain and Kuwait

“This latest announcement marks a major milestone for Disruptive Restaurant Group, our recently launched subsidiary that has made a quick ascent in the F&B industry,” said Sam Nazarian, sbe Founder and CEO. “We are delighted at this rapid expansion of one of our most popular restaurant brands and look forward to bringing Cleo to a global audience.”Disruptive Restaurant Group Logo

The global plans follow Disruptive Restaurant Group’s successful partnership with M.H. Alshaya on the expansion of Los Angeles-based Katsuya in the Middle East, another award-winning Disruptive Restaurant Group brand. Katsuya opened two locations in Kuwait in 2014. Six more Katsuya locations are scheduled to open by 2017 in DohaDubai and Cairo

“Our growth abroad showcases our ability to develop relevant culinary concepts with strategic partners that have the power to become global mainstays,” said John Kolaski, President of Disruptive Restaurant Group.

Created by Chef Danny Elmaleh, Cleo’s cuisine is drawn from a variety of influences and showcases a modern twist on the ingredients and cultures of the eastern and southern Mediterranean. Disruptive Restaurant Group currently operates three Cleo restaurants at The Redbury Hollywood, SLS Las Vegas and The Redbury South Beach hotels. A fourth location, Cleo’s first standalone restaurant, opened this fall in L.A. LIVE, a sports and entertainment district in downtown Los Angeles. In 2017, three more locations will open in New YorkChicago and the Bahamas

Disruptive Restaurant Group’s culinary brands include Katsuya, Cleo, The Bazaar by José Andrés, Hyde Kitchen + Cocktails, and Umami.

Johnny Rockets Looks to Australian Expansion

Johnny Rockets is partnering with with JR Restaurants Australia Pty Ltd to expand the brand’s footprint in Australia. The deal includes 100 new locations across the country, with the first restaurant set to open June 2017, in Gold CoastQueenslandla35131logo

“We’re excited to partner with Stuart McAuliffe and Samuel Elderfield of JR Restaurants Australia on this expansion, especially given Australian’s taste for high quality food and the popularity of American culture,” explains James Walker, President of Operations and Development, Johnny Rockets. “Stuart and Samuel possess strong real estate acumen as well as great understanding of the market, giving us the confidence that our brand will succeed down under.”

All restaurants will reflect the new Johnny Rockets 2.0 technology including self-ordering kiosks, high-efficiency kitchen equipment and table top ordering and payment systems. The addition of these elements differentiates Johnny Rockets from the competition in the market, offering guests an authentic experience coupled with the speed and service Johnny Rockets is known for across the world.

“Johnny Rockets is a concept with a long history of excellent flavor and quality, something we know Australians will embrace,” states Stuart McAuliffe, Director, JR Restaurants Australia Pty Ltd. “We looked at many brands, but what really stood out to us about Johnny Rockets was the similarities betweenCalifornia and Australia, from the culture to the appearance, we know this is a dining environment that Australians crave.”

Johnny Rockets’ franchise partners currently operate more than 160 restaurants outside the U.S., and the brand plans to continue its aggressive expansion in 2017. 

Papa Murphy’s Plans Rapid Growth

Papa Murphy’s is mounting an aggressive push for new market share in 80 key growth markets by offering a series of development incentives designed to attract new franchisees eager to take advantage of the opportunity to expand their share of the brand’s success.

Papa Murphy’s growth has already accelerated rapidly in many of these markets, like Jacksonville, FL, where the brand’s presence has grown from five stores to 14 in just 18 months. In Knoxville, TN., store locations doubled from eight to 16, and locations tripled in Memphis from four to 13 during that same time period.gi_98121_pm

“We’ve observed a strong correlation between average weekly sales and annual sales volume when compared to the number of existing stores that we have in the market,” said Jayson Tipp, Chief Development Officer for Papa Murphy’s. “The more we penetrate a territory, the more our awareness grows, and with awareness comes trial. These new development incentives are another way we are partnering with our rapidly growing system of dedicated owners to expand our brand success even faster.” 

Papa Murphy’s is offering the new incentives through December 30. To qualify for the Growth Market Development Incentive program, franchisees will be required to sign a new multi-store agreement (MSS) or area development agreement (ADA) of at least two stores. In return, Papa Murphy’s will provide a $5,000 franchise fee reduction per store. Additionally, each store qualifying for this incentive will receive a royalty fee waiver for its first 12 months of operation. 

Papa Murphy’s has identified 80 designated market areas (DMAs) that are eligible to receive this incentive. These are areas where fewer than 10 stores are required to reach the brand’s targeted penetration level of one store per population of 80,000. These DMAs include 49 markets where Papa Murphy’s franchisees currently operate stores, as well as 34 DMAs adjacent to existing markets. New markets are also eligible through an ADA or MSS, as long as they can meet the one store opening per every population of 80,000 in five or fewer years. 

“Papa Murphy’s stands on the precipice of exponential growth in dozens of key markets across the country, and we know our best franchisees are hungry for more,” said Ken Calwell, Chief Executive Officer and President of Papa Murphy’s International. “To help achieve our full growth potential, we are investing heavily to show our commitment to franchisees eager to take advantage of the growth opportunities Papa Murphy’s represents. By fostering more strategic, targeted growth in our franchise system we are building an even stronger future for our brand nationwide.” 

In order to help franchise owners achieve this new market penetration goal, Papa Murphy’s approved vendor, Ascentium Capital, is offering a 60-90 day deferred interest or interest-only payment, a step-up payment program, where initial payments remain low and increase over time, and a seasonal payment adjustment option, where payments are indexed to rise or fall along with the seasonality of the business. 

Any existing Papa Murphy’s owner who is eligible for growth and meets financial qualifications for the proposed store opening commitment may participate. This incentive is also available to new candidates who meet the proposed store opening commitment requirement within their agreement. 

“We believe these types of strategic growth incentives can help us to eventually triple the size of Papa Murphy’s. Our brand is built on a simple business model with a strong value proposition, and we stand alone in the pizza industry because of the low breakeven of our unit-level operations. We have all of the right elements in place to use this aggressive push to quickly arrive at our next level of growth,” Tipp said. 

Founded in 1981, the company currently operates more than 1,550 franchised and corporate-owned fresh pizza stores in 38 States, Canada and United Arab Emirates.

Miami Grill Grows

Miami Grill further solidified its expansion into the global marketplace with the recent formation of Miami Grill International, Inc., and the appointment of International entrepreneur, Stephen Austin Saldanha as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Under his leadership, Miami Grill International will be responsible for the growth of the Miami Grill and Salad Creations operations outside of the USA

Currently, Miami Grill is operating primarily in South Florida, but has already started its international growth with restaurants open or currently under construction in GuyanaMalaysiaPanamaMyanmar and Ecuador.  Saldanha is already in discussions with potential franchisees in 12 other countries and 20 more cities.

According to Richard Chwatt, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Miami Grill Group, the creation of Miami Grill International, Inc. aligns with both current developments and future plans for the company.

“The diversity of our brand has already brought success to our existing international franchises, and as we aggressively pursue more international locations, it makes sense to lay a foundation and put structure to our plans by forming a designated entity that brings laser focus to our goals,” he said.

“Stephen is an exceptional leader with a demonstrated international track record,” Chwatt added. “We look forward to partnering with him on our expansion goals.”

South-Florida based Miami Grill is developed by the same owners as Miami Subs, Miami Subs Capital Partners 1, Inc., and key equity partner, Armando Christian “Pitbull” Pérez. 

Clubhouse Conversion Increases Sales

Round Table Pizza’s new “Clubhouse” concept has brought a new level of entertainment and experience to its customers, and is generating robust sales results in restaurants remodeled to the format.

Roundhouse Clubhouse
Round Table Clubhouse

“We’ve been remodeling a number of our standard Round Table locations, and seen solid sales increases,” said Sr. Vice President of Development Ted Storey. “But the locations converted to the new Clubhouse format have achieved even better results. In 2015, the average unit volume of a Clubhouse was $1,450,594 compared to $981,335 for a traditional Round Table.”

What’s a Clubhouse? Well, the name was chosen for Round Table’s newest variation on the pizza parlor concept because it’s a broadly appealing gathering place that features “pizza-pub-play” options, as its sign states. 

“Round Table has been synonymous with family togetherness since our founding 57 years ago,” explains Rob McCourt, President and CEO of Round Table. “We developed the Clubhouse concept to provide an even more enjoyable experience for our guests of all ages, with an open layout that gives kids the chance to play and their parents a place to relax and enjoy a game on TV while we bake their favorite pizza. And when we bring that pizza to the table, it’s family togetherness time. That’s what we’re all about.”

The Clubhouse has also expanded on the Round Table menu of specialty pizzas–like the King Arthur’s Supreme, Maui Zaui and Gourmet Veggie–to include half-pound Harris Ranch burgers, beer-battered French fries, sliders, Ulti-Wings in a variety of sauces, and desserts.

“We’re finding that this kind of variety gives guests reasons to come in more often, and they are,” said McCourt. “We can serve as a sports bar, a destination for large group gatherings and, of course, a great source for carry-out or delivery pizzas too.”

Round Table has more than 450 restaurants in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii, including 70 company-owned outlets. Of these, 14 locations are under the Clubhouse brand, with another 14 anticipated to open by the first quarter of 2017.

Jack in the Box Partners with DoorDash

Jack in the Box® and DoorDash teamed up to make it easier than ever for Jack in the Box fans and night owls to satisfy their cravings all day long and into the night. Jack in the Box and DoorDash have launched a delivery partnership in the San Francisco Bay Area that lets guests have Jack’s entire menu of craveable food delivered directly to their doorsteps as late as 3 a.m.

“Unlike the daytime hours and the responsibilities that come with them, we believe that late night should be reserved for doing the things our guests enjoy the most,” said Iwona Alter, Jack in the Box Vice President of Marketing. “Whether you’re binge watching your favorite show or gaming with friends, there’s no need to stop the fun just because you’re hungry! Now, late nighters can have their favorite Jack in the Box food delivered to them with just a simple tap or click on DoorDash.”

Hardcore Jack in the Box fans already know that Jack is made for late night! With Jack’s Munchie Meals®, a crowd pleaser since debuting in 2013, guests can order mouthwatering mashups of their favorite craveable menu items. New this year is the Sriracha Curly Fry Burger Munchie Meal, which takes a delicious cheeseburger and stacks it with Seasoned Curly Fries and a layer of Creamy Sriracha Sauce. Accompanied by two tacos, halfsies (half French Fries and half Seasoned Curly Fries) and a small Freestyle drink, guests can order this meal for only $6 (plus delivery fees) after 9 p.m.

“Partnering with Jack in the Box adds a California favorite to our great selection of restaurants in San Francisco,” said Prahar Shah, Head of Business Development at DoorDash. “We’re excited to be extending DoorDash’s hours in the Bay Area until 3 a.m., seven days a week, and we know that SF’s late night crowd will love having their favorite restaurants like Jack in the Box delivered through the early morning.”

Popbar Expands in California

Popbar, the maker of customizable popGelato, popSorbetto, and YogurtPops, founded in New York City in 2010, is opening in Rowland Heights at 18588 E Gale Ave, Unit 106, Rowland Heights, CA with franchisees, Jeremy Tu and Anna Wang. Popbar serves handcrafted gelato, sorbetto, and yogurt in a new way – on a stick.  All pops are made in-house daily with all natural ingredients.  On the menu, you’ll find 40+ rotating flavors ranging from classics (Chocolate, Vanilla) to the more unique (Green Tea, Passion Fruit), and even seasonal ones too (Watermelon, Pumpkin Pie).  You can enjoy your pop as-is, or customize to your liking.  Premium dippings and toppings include dark, milk, and white chocolate, nuts, sprinkles, waffle cone, caramel corn, and more.Popbar-Gelato-on-a-Stick

Popbar currently has nine stores in the US in New York, California and Florida, and 16 stores internationally in countries including CanadaRussiaJapan, Korea, Indonesia, and Panama.  There are currently six stores under construction in new territories and Rowland Heights is the thirteenth Popbar to open this year.

“A long awaited opening day is finally here and I couldn’t be more excited!  Popbar has made quite a splash in other parts of California, so I look forward to showing the Los Angeles area what they’ve been missing” says franchisee, Jeremy Tu.  “If you ask me, the best flavor combination is almond popGelato with milk chocolate, waffle cone, and caramel corn, but everyone has their favorite.  You really can’t go wrong with the premium selection of pops, dippings and toppings available to choose from – they’re all delicious.”

Golden Corral’s Military Appreciation Night

On Monday, Nov. 14, for the sixteenth consecutive year Golden Corral will thank more than 330,000 active duty and retired United States military personnel for their service with a free dinner buffet and beverage, while also raising donations for DAV (Disabled American Veterans). A tradition started in 2001, Golden Corral’s Military Appreciation Night has served more than 4.7 million complimentary meals to military personnel and generated more than $11.5 million dollars in guest contributions to support community-based service initiatives for veterans.outside-gc-by-tb1

“For the past 15 years, every Golden Corral restaurant and our incredible guests have helped support Disabled American Veterans.  We owe so much to those who have served and sacrificed for our country, and we know how critical it is that we support these brave Americans,” said Lance Trenary, President and Chief Executive Officer of Golden Corral.  “We look forward to thanking our nation’s heroes again this Military Appreciation Night with a complimentary meal and raising more funds for the programs and services that DAV provides.”

Golden Corral has enlisted Gary Sinise, celebrated actor/humanitarian, and Collective Soul, the platinum award-winning band, to record public service announcements for Military Appreciation Night. Sinise and Collective Soul are all actively involved in supporting active duty and retired military personnel through a variety of organizations and initiatives including tours to military installations overseas.

“This is the twelfth year I’ve had the pleasure to partner with Golden Corral in supporting our troops, past and present, through Military Appreciation Night,” said Sinise. “The number of meals given away and amount of money donated in the past 15 years really distinguishes Golden Corral’s commitment to the military. I’m proud and happy to help raise awareness for Golden Corral Military Appreciation Night.”

Golden Corral will serve free dinner buffets with beverage from 5 to 9 p.m. to any person who is or has served in a United States Military branch, including the National Guard and Reserves. State and local DAV representatives will be on-site at all Golden Corral locations coordinating the collection of donations from customers.  For more information on Military Appreciation Night, click here.

Limeades for Learning

SONIC® Drive-In  wrapped up its eight annual Limeades for Learning® Fall Voting Campaign, giving more than $1 million to fund 2,315 public school teacher projects over the four-week campaign. In partnership with, this national award winning and voter-driven cause marketing campaign put guests in the driver’s seat to allocate SONIC’s donation, helping to ensure essential learning materials and innovative teaching resources are available in public school classrooms across the country.2719272_l4l-logo-navy

From September 26 through October 23, SONIC empowered guests and fans to make a difference in their local communities by voting for public school teacher projects they wanted funded on the Limeades for Learning website, Throughout the voting period, projects with the most votes each week received funding, with an average request of $728 per project.

“We’re proud to support public school teachers to the tune of $1 million through our eighth annual Limeades for Learning Fall Voting Campaign, bringing SONIC’s contribution to public school classrooms to $2 million so far in 2016,” said Christi Woodworth, vice president of public relations for SONIC. “During the four-week campaign, SONIC guests and fans mobilized to make a difference in their communities by determining which teacher projects we funded. We believe that teachers are innovative and entrepreneurial and will continue to launch additional initiatives throughout the school year to ensure we continue to support the communities and neighborhoods we proudly serve.”

Following this year’s Limeades for Learning fall voting campaign, SONIC has funded 13,614 classroom projects in 1,160 cities over the past eight years. More than 408,420 students have benefited from the projects funded since the campaign launched in 2009.

Lennys Subs Supports No Kid Hungry

Through an ongoing partnership with No Kid Hungry®, Lennys Subs, with more than 100 locations, raised $35,000 system-wide during the month of September, equating to approximately 350,000 meals for children in need. This total exceeded the initial goal set by the brand by $5,000 thanks to the generous support of the franchisee system and its customers. As part of the one-month campaign that ended October 2, Lennys Subs locations asked patrons to donate $1 each time they visited. Diners were recognized for their kind donation with a $2-off coupon for any club sandwich on their next visit. gi_98483_lennys

“The fear of not having the next meal for your child is one no parent should have to struggle with and no one, especially children, should have to go to bed hungry,” said Kevin Martin, president and CEO for Lennys Subs. “Exceeding our goal in just the second year of partnering with No Kid Hungry shows us that communities nationwide understand the seriousness of this issue, and the potential we have to make a difference together for years to come.” 

Martin also commended the work that No Kid Hungry has done this year nationwide, and mentioned that he is moved and proud to be part of the campaign’s life-changing impact. 

“We know that hungry kids aren’t going to perform as well in school; they’re not going to succeed because they can’t focus,” Martin said. “Partnering with No Kid Hungry means we can be an active presence within our communities and effectively initiate a change so kids can focus on their future instead of on food.”

Every year, thousands of restaurants across the country come together to raise money and awareness for No Kid Hungry, spurring millions of customers to donate to the charity at the point of sale in stores, online and social-media sites, or by participating in local fundraising and cause-marketing events.

“Everyone has a role in helping end childhood hunger in America,” said Jill Davis, Senior Director, Corporate Partnerships, Share Our Strength. “It’s heartwarming to see the restaurant industry come together for our cause, and we are thrilled to have an iconic brand like Lennys Subs, who cares about giving back to their community, join us once again this year.”

Arby’s Adds Venison Sandwich

For the more than 20 million hunters across America, the arrival of fall means Meats Season is finally here. And no restaurant understands Meats Season better than Arby’s, which is why the Fast Crafted® sandwich brand will release a Venison Sandwich in popular hunting markets beginning in early November.arb16_venison_cut_silo_for_release

The Venison Sandwich at Arby’s features a thick-cut venison steak and crispy onions topped with a juniper berry sauce on a toasted specialty roll. The venison is marinated in garlic, salt and pepper and then cooked for three hours to juicy, tender perfection. The juniper berry sauce is a Cabernet steak sauce infused with juniper berries, giving the already unique sandwich another signature twist.

“Hunters hunt the meats, and we have the meats, so it makes sense for us to connect with them and offer a sandwich that they can’t get at any other restaurant chain,” said Rob Lynch, Chief Marketing Officer and Brand President of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. “We’re a brand that’s not afraid to take risks and while the Venison sandwich is probably the biggest stretch for us yet, it’s incredibly delicious and we can’t wait to get it in the hands of our guests. You won’t leave a hunt empty-handed after stopping by Arby’s.”

The Venison Sandwich will be offered at 17 Arby’s restaurants across America, each within heavy deer hunting areas in the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Georgia.

Shaq Now Owns Atlanta Krispy Kreme

Basketball Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal has become an owner in the Krispy Kreme’s downtown Atlanta location and was named the brand’s new global spokesperson.

O’Neal is a lifelong Krispy Kreme fan and has taken ownership in the historic Krispy Kreme shop on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta, which opened more than 60 years ago. 

“Krispy Kreme prides itself on spreading joy and supporting local communities, and that’s a cause that I am thrilled to be a part of,” said O’Neal. “Our goal is to help people find their happy place, and what better way than with a box of delicious Krispy Kreme doughnuts.”

“In addition to Shaquille’s status as a sports and entertainment icon and businessman, he is known for spreading joy, which aligns with our positioning and mission,” said Tony Thompson, President and CEO of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. “We are confident this partnership will have a big impact for us in Atlanta and around the world.”

To celebrate O’Neal joining the Krispy Kreme Doughnuts family, the brand announced a “Shaq-or-Treat” social media promotion for Halloween – one of O’Neal’s favorite days. Krispy Kreme fans who tag their Halloween social media posts with #ShaqOrTreat between October 28 and 31 will be eligible to win Shaq-autographed prizes or Krispy Kreme surprises.

“When you think about brands that resonate in pop culture, Krispy Kreme is on that short list of brands that transcend their industry and connect with consumers on personal level,” said Nick Woodhouse, President & Chief Marketing Officer of Authentic Brands Group, joint owner of Shaq, Inc. “We are excited to partner with Krispy Kreme to amplify their message and grow the brand’s presence worldwide.”