At Angry Crab Shack, we understand that with every crisis comes an opportunity. While it’s no secret that 2020 was a turbulent year for the restaurant industry, we continued to refine our systems, expand our brand and give back to our community when they needed us the most. Our restaurant franchise owners and their team members continued to push forward and remain strong during an unforeseen crisis. While other businesses had to shut down, we were fortunate enough to remain standing.
As a result of the resilience and drive of our franchise owners paired with the loyalty of our guests, we continued to grow and our managers and staff experienced no salary cuts or lay-offs. In February of 2020, we hit a major milestone expanding outside of Arizona, opening our 12th store, with new locations in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, Texas and Utah set to open in 2021. We also continued our expansion in Arizona opening up two locations with two more expected to open in 2021.
A Year of Innovation
Determined to beat the odds during the lockdowns, Angry Crab Shack founder, Ron Lou and President, Andrew Diamond, along with their leadership team, took a closer look at their operations and adjusted accordingly.
“With every negative experience, there is always an opportunity,” Andrew explained.
When doors shut, we used that time to improve our business any way we could. Taking a second look at all we do, from operations to the guest experience, we asked ourselves, ‘how can we make this better?’
Our first decision was to recruit a seasoned expert in restaurant operations to help us evaluate our training and operational processes. Eric Kardon, our new Director of Franchise Operations has instituted multiple enhancements that will allow us to deliver a higher quality training curriculum and more efficient operations system-wide. In addition, Eric brought in a new executive chef, Sloan Emden.
In 2020, Sloan oversaw the development of an enhanced menu and revised training for the culinary staff and continues to oversee ongoing refinements to our menu and food packaging to ensure our guests can still experience the delicious tastes of Angry Crab Shack from the comfort of their own home. Expanding on the theme of enhanced training, we moved our headquarters to a larger, more collaborative facility.
We shifted from operating as a full-service, sit-down restaurant to offering contactless delivery and takeout options to accommodate our guests. To ensure our guests get their favorite food delivered hot and on time, we added online ordering and new delivery partners Door Dash and GrubHub.
In order to ease the financial hardship on our franchise owners, we worked tirelessly to strengthen restaurant franchise owner support. We waived royalties indefinitely and assisted our franchise owners in completing PPP loans in order to access critical funds.
We prioritized the health and safety of all of our team members and guests by implementing employee and guest screening, new cleaning and sanitizing procedures and switched to single-serving and disposable items.
A Year of Giving Back
At Angry Crab Shack, we embrace family and community. While we regularly partner with our communities, we felt it was even more important to give back in 2020. “We are fortunate to help organizations that are doing so much to support people that need help the most,” Andrew explained.
In 2020 we spearheaded a number of fundraising initiatives:
- Through our longstanding partnership with Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Angry Crab Shack has become a regular donor through the sale of our Phoenix Children’s Fries. We continue to donate $1 for every order of Phoenix Children’s Fries sold. In doing so, we raised more than $100,000 in 2020. To offer additional support during trying times, Angry Crab Shack also purchased a $15,000 temperature reading machine for the hospital.
- To assist with the needs of homeless or at-risk veterans, Angry Crab Shack partnered with the Arizona Housing Coalition to host the “You Dine we Donate” campaign in July 2020 and donated $.25 for every pound of seafood ordered – delivery, carryout or dine-in when it was available. As a result, we raised $40,000 which helped them keep up with the increased demand for housing assistance, clothing, meals, haircuts and more.
- With families across the country grappling with furloughs and lay-offs, our team wanted to ensure food banks were well equipped to handle the increased need. Angry Crab Shack donated $10,000 to St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix and $10,000 to United Food Bank in Mesa which resulted in 120,000 meals for Phoenix area families.
Seeing Growth From Within
Quickly becoming an Arizona household name, we expanded our footprint in the metro Phoenix area with new Angry Crab Shack locations in San Tan Valley and Laveen.
Long-time general manager, Jason Novack, is transitioning to a franchise owner, becoming an operating partner at the Laveen location. Jason has worked at various Angry Crab Shack locations since 2015.
Making Headway on 2021 Expansion Efforts
We’re grateful to continue to grow amid a pandemic with our 13th location opening in Henderson, Nevada later this month. Franchise owners Rick and Dana Lopez are excited to bring Angry Crab Shack to their community.
“From day one, we’ve included our community in the build-out process – from hiring local contractors to doing our best to fill our workforce with passionate team members that have lost work due to the pandemic. And, the entire business has become a family affair. When we shared the news with our children, they were quick to join the team – one as a host and the other as a bartender. We’re just incredibly excited for what the future holds for our business and ability to be a community partner.” Dana explained.
The two have already lined up a charitable partnership with the Sunrise Children’s Hospital, which will receive regular donations as a result of menu item sales.
Fulfilling our goals of expanding to the Midwest, another new location is on track to open in the suburban outskirts of Chicago in the spring.
Chicagoland native, franchise owner, Nas Zaidan, is determined to make Angry Crab Shack a neighborhood favorite.
“Right now, we’re evaluating sites in Orland Park, Evergreen Park, Tinley Park and Schaumburg – Wherever we land, I know the community is going to fall in love with this concept just as I did,” Nas explained.
Our overall brand expansion plan is to have 100 stores open and operating across the U.S. by 2025.
While we’re proud of our growth in 2020, our priorities haven’t changed. Going forward, we plan to get better, refine our systems and become the best business that we can be for our franchise owners. We look forward to the development slated for 2021.