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Jack in the Box Inc. CEO Darin Harris on readying the quick-service chain for renewed growth

With a digital focus and new prototype, chain sets goal of almost tripling unit count


With the goal of reaching 6,000 units, Jack in the Box Inc. is scheduled to restart growth in 2022 as a relaunch of franchising comes to fruition.

The San Diego-based chain ended the third quarter with 16 development agreements to build 64 new units, both expanding in existing markets and moving into new cities like Salt Lake City, Chicago and Louisville. The chain operates in 21 states currently but expects to reach 40 states within the next 10 years.

Darin Harris, Jack in the Box Inc.’s CEO recently passed his one-year anniversary. He arrived at Jack in the Box last year at the height of the pandemic shutdown, and after several years of franchisee unrest.

Harris said he and his team have worked hard to repair franchisee relations and the chain’s operators are eager to grow again.

Franchisees tend to see relations with the franchisor as a relay race, he said, but Harris sees it as more of a three-legged sack race, “where we both have a leg in, we’re hopping along. We’re going to fall a few times — we’ll disagree at times — but we’ll get back up and finish the race strong.”

Listen to Harris’ strategy for new growth for Jack in the Box, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

Correction: September 13, 2021
An earlier version of this story mischaracterized the timeline for reaching 6,000 units. No timeline was specified.
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