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Rock n Roll Sushi CEO Chris Kramolis credits franchisees with chain’s success in 2020

Quick adaptation was key to the casual-dining concepts’ sales growth


Rock n Roll Sushi occupies the unique niche of providing sushi rolls and hibachi-grilled items in a rock music-themed setting to consumers who might not normally eat raw fish.

Founded in Mobile, Ala., in 2010 by husband-and-wife team Lance and Gerry Mach Hallmark, the chain grew thanks to their deep understanding of their market and to devoted friends who opened franchises of their own.

Being successful at selling sushi in Alabama also caught the attention of Chris Kramolis, a former area developer for fast-casual chain Tropical Smoothie Cafe, who thought the concept might work in his home state of Arkansas, too.

The concept did work, even in May of 2020, when dining rooms were at 33% capacity. That’s when Kramolis opened his first Rock n Roll Sushi unit in Little Rock, Ark. It worked so well, in fact, that he opened a second unit in Little Rock in July, and then opened a location in Tallahassee, Fla.

That success drew the attention of Kramolis’s friend Eric Jenrich, founder of Tropical Smoothie Cafe, who ended up buying a controlling stake in Rock n Roll Sushi and making Kramolis its CEO.

In this video, Kramolis discusses the fear of operating during the pandemic as well as Rock n Roll Sushi’s resiliency and his own path to the C-suite.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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