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Meet Josh Arnold: The Former Server Who Opened Four Angry Crab Shacks in Four Years

By June 22, 2023January 2nd, 2024No Comments
Updated: January 2, 2024

Over the years, millions of workers have gotten their start in the restaurant industry. After all, working in the service sector teaches you many valuable skills that can be transferred into other careers and your everyday life, including time management, communication and collaboration.

At Angry Crab Shack, we don’t just dish up our signature Asian Cajun flavors; we also dish up plenty of growth opportunities. Just ask Josh Arnold – he is one of several franchise partners who started as a part-time server and now owns four Angry Crab Shack locations.

The Road to Entrepreneurship

Over the years, Josh has worn many hats. From an auto mechanic to a salesman to the owner of a screen-printing company and a commercial cleaning business, he began re-evaluating his career goals after having a heart attack at 34. It was then that he decided to follow his true passion…. the restaurant industry.

Josh lived in Goodyear, Arizona when his friend invited him to dinner at the local Angry Crab Shack. The quality of the food, combined with the unforgettable experience, blew him away.

“It was like nothing I’d ever experienced before,” Josh explained. “I looked around and everyone was really engaged with their table…. no phones or electronics… It was just the family-oriented environment I was looking for.”

It wasn’t long before the Angry Crab Shack Manager, Matt Prentice, hired Josh as a server at the Goodyear Angry Crab Shack restaurant. As Josh worked his way up from a server to Restaurant Manager and then General Manager, he fell even more in love with the brand and began researching what he had to do to have his own location.

Diving Into Franchising

Though Josh had experience running small businesses, working as a Server and Restaurant Manager in an Angry Crab Shack restaurant, there was still plenty to learn. Luckily, the Angry Crab Shack team was eager to help him bring his entrepreneurial dreams to life. They walked him through each step…. from getting a business loan to the ins and outs of opening and growing new locations.

As a General Manager, Josh received training to learn the finer points of running a profitable restaurant such as hiring the right people, training employees, and managing cost of goods, labor, and ensuring the guest experience remained high.

In addition to the specifics of managing and operating the restaurant, there’s also a myriad of tasks that must be managed and executed as part of any new restaurant launch. These include the acquisition of a location, lease negotiations, finding a contractor, equipment procurement and managing the execution of each of these tasks. According to Josh, “There’s a lot that goes into owning your own franchise. Fortunately, I had a lot of direction and support from the entire Angry Crab Shack team which gave me the confidence to purchase my own franchise.”

Finally, Josh worked with the Angry Crab Shack team and received first-hand experience on how to manage the launch and grand opening of a new restaurant when he participated in the successful opening of a new franchised location in Phoenix.

After an extensive apprenticeship with the entire Angry Crab Shack corporate team, Josh joined forces with his former manager Matt Prentice in December 2019, to purchase the Tucson location from founder Ron Lou and to open a  new Angry Crab Shack in Surprise, Arizona.

“It was a big step to take,” Josh explained, “But as soon as the guests walked in and we saw the smiles on everyone’s faces, all those fears and worries went away.”

Putting the “Family” in Family Business

Less than two years after opening their first two restaurants, Josh and Matt opened a third location in Phoenix, followed by another one in Tucson. Josh’s favorite part of running his business remains the fun, laid-back culture.

“One of the reasons I fell in love with the brand in the first place was that every day was fun,” he explained. “It didn’t really feel like work; it felt like you were just going to hang out with friends.”

Many of Josh’s employees have been with him since the beginning, and he always makes it a point to inspire them to follow their passions as he did.

“Matt and I always make it a point to say that we started where they are,” Josh explained. “If they’re willing to learn and go through the management training, they can do it, too.”

In addition to his “work family,” Matt has welcomed several of his actual family members at his Angry Crab Shack restaurants. His mom works as the Manager at the Surprise location, his brother is a General Manager and, as he looks forward to opening a fifth store this year, he hopes to bring his cousin on board to help manage it.

“Opening four locations in four years has been a very rewarding journey,” Josh said, “But we’re still just getting started, and I can’t wait to see where the next few years will take us and our restaurants.”

As Angry Crab Shack continues to expand, we’re looking for more driven franchisees to help us make waves in the $257 billion+ global seafood industry. Contact us today to learn how you can open an Angry Crab Shack in your area!


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