The Latest Habit News

Building Better Habits: Driving Brand Transformation with Chief Marketing Officer, Jack Hinchliffe


In this next edition of our Building Better Habits series, we sat down with newly-appointed Chief Marketing Officer, Jack Hinchliffe, to dive deeper into his eight-year tenure with Yum Brands!, including his award-winning and transformational work on the KFC UK & Ireland team, as well as his vision for enhancing The Habit’s marketing approach. Continue reading to discover what motivates Jack in his journey to not only better our brand’s market value, but our cultural relevancy and meaningfulness to the Guests we serve.


You recently joined The Habit team in February. What was your journey like to get here?


JH: The move to The Habit this year was a timely moment in my career. I was with Yum Brands! at KFC UK for just over eight years where I held various roles in marketing leadership from product development to sustainability and communications, which allowed me to leverage creativity and big ideas to drive business impact and digital transformation. We made concerted efforts to move to omnichannel retailing, so the brand could deliver a seamless customer experience, gather valuable insights, engage customers more effectively, unlock additional revenue streams, and adapt to the evolving market dynamics. During my time at KFC UK, I was incredibly proud to have been awarded Brand of the Year by Marketing Week in 2021 as well as the Gold IPA Effectiveness Award for Business Transformation. The knowledge and insights I have acquired from KFC UK have been immense, and I am enthusiastic about incorporating them into The Habit to build a contemporary and unique brand centered around meticulously prepared, high-quality food.


What gets you up in the morning…where do you look for inspiration or motivation in the workplace?


JH: In my professional life, three key factors drive my motivation and shape the way I approach my work. First, I believe everyone has the right to feel like they belong. Feeling seen and heard is incredibly important, which is why I strive to give everyone opportunities to share their ideas unfiltered, without fear of judgment. Creativity and great ideas are born from the diversity of thought and I want my workplace to encourage just that. Secondly, I believe in progress over perfection. We all have it in us to be extraordinary and to deliver those results in different ways. By embracing this mindset, we can unleash our full potential and unlock new levels of success, both individually and as a team. Lastly, I actively recognize that we are all on a continuous learning journey. I am committed to finding new insights every day and fostering a growth mindset that embraces the notion of constant development. However, I believe it’s important we maintain humility and acknowledge we may not always possess the answers or solutions. Keeping an open mind and being receptive to feedback cultivates an environment that produces innovative approaches and is ready to evolve when faced with new challenges.


What are you most excited to do as The Habit’s Chief Marketing Officer?


JH: I am thrilled about the prospect of magnifying our marketing efforts and enhancing the brand’s prominence within the cultural landscape. My primary objective is to establish The Habit as a lighthouse brand, one that is instantly recognizable, iconic, and impossible to overlook for consumers. To accomplish this goal, I intend to prioritize making investments in robust media strategies that maximize our brand’s visibility and reach. By expanding our media presence, we can effectively communicate our brand’s unique value proposition and capture the attention of a wider audience. Through this, I am confident that we can increase brand recognition and bolster our position as a leader within the industry.


With his wealth of experience and dedication to progress, we can anticipate an exciting era ahead as Jack leads the charge to elevate The Habit’s brand presence, maximize its impact, and deliver exceptional experiences that resonate deeply with our valued Guests. Stay tuned for the remarkable transformations that await us in the pursuit of Building Better Habits.


Consider the potential of The Habit franchise opportunity – fill out our online inquiry form to get in touch with our team today.

Multi-Unit Developer Karnardo Garnett Expands The Habit Presence in Florida.

Kerardo Garnett. Mulit Unit Developer



Karnardo Garnett is a successful entrepreneur who has made a name for himself in the restaurant space. Mr. Garnett’s hospitality-first mindset and passion for building successful relationships led him to franchise with The Habit Burger Grill in early 2022 when he signed a partnership to develop 10 new Habit restaurants in the Tampa Bay market.


As The Habit’s presence in the Florida state continues to grow, Garnett is a great example of a franchise owner who’s grown their portfolios in attractive, untapped markets. Read more about Garnett’s background and his inspiration to grow with The Habit.


An Early Career in the Tech Industry

Growing up in Georgia and coming from a family of farmers, Garnett developed an appreciation for food and its ability to bring people together at an early age. As a teenager, Garnett got to see the community impact food provides as well as get a taste for the franchise world firsthand as a McDonald’s employee. He would take what he learned from this initial exposure to the franchise business and apply the lessons he learned to his future business operations.


After graduating from college, Garnett worked for several Fortune 500 companies as a software engineer, including GE and Verizon. Garnett worked in this field for over a decade and then decided to obtain a law degree and launch his businesses, Legacy Concessions and Legacy Hospitality. It was at this point that Garnett would start to get involved with top-tier brands and restaurant franchises, racking up an impressive portfolio made up of nine restaurant concepts. In 2020, Garnett was inspired to find his next franchise investment when he heard that The Habit had become a part of Yum! Brands. That kind of large-scale backing intrigued Garnett and he began to inquire.


Deciding on The Habit

Garnett felt drawn to investing in a burger concept and The Habit specifically interested him for a few reasons. One reason was our aggressive, yet supported and sustainable, approach to franchise growth, a quality Garnett was actively seeking out in his franchise investment. The Habit’s passion for quality food and guest experience also aligned with the seasoned operator’s values, and his extensive business background further solidified the decision to grow an industry-savvy brand.


“To say that I am excited about partnering with The Habit Burger Grill is an understatement,” said Karnardo. “I believe in this brand; the quality of its food product and its focus on company culture are one of a kind. In my experience, being in the restaurant industry is all about building relationships with people centered around food. The Habit Burger Grill does an outstanding job of surrounding you with good people, high-quality food options and the systems to deliver a consistent experience. I like to operate based on my company’s core values, which I call the ‘4 W’s’: We Care, We Listen, We Innovate and We Deliver, and through this brand partnership I am able to go above and beyond on all of these to create the best overall dining experience.”


We are thrilled to welcome Karnardo Garnett to The Habit franchise family and know that through his hard work, perseverance, and commitment to excellence, his restaurants in the Florida market will flourish.


Are you evaluating your business pursuits and interested in exploring The Habit’s franchise opportunity? Fill out the online inquiry form to get in touch with our team today.

The Habit Women Supporting Franchise Owners & Operations

Shannon Hennessy President, Iwona Alters Chief Operating Officer, Tiffany Furman Chief Financial Officer, Tanya Corners Chief People Officer


Over the past few years, the franchise industry has gone through changes to make it a more inclusive and equitable field for the countless women joining executive leadership. Not only have women advanced into roles on a corporate level, but more women are also becoming business owners themselves, investing in franchise concepts. In fact, women account for 31% of small businesses and franchise ownership in the U.S. and are now outnumbering men when it comes to seeking information about franchise ownership.


Here at The Habit Burger Grill, we champion women across all levels of our brand and encourage their personal and professional development. Continue reading to learn more about a few women on our executive leadership team who support franchise operators by driving overall brand strategy.


Shannon Hennessy, President

With an extensive background in financial analysis and business strategy for brands like Procter & Gamble and McKinsey & Company, Shannon Hennessy joined Yum Brands! in 2020 and has since then been promoted to President of The Habit. In Shannon’s role at The Habit, she works to provide strategic direction for scaling our concept in a consistent and profitable way where our brand can maintain quality while simultaneously improving margins. Shannon is committed to bettering the workplace and enjoys being a part of a people-driven business where she can drive change for advancing equity and inclusion.


Iwona Alter, Chief Operating Officer

Joining The Habit team in 2018 as Chief Brand Officer, Iwona Alter has a keen sense for brand marketing and restaurant business that has served her well in her current role as Chief Operating Officer. Iwona was introduced to the restaurant industry during her tenure with Jack in the Box where she held various roles in both operations and marketing including the position of brand’s CMO. Her experience in communications, product development, and innovation with companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Elmer’s Glue, and Shiseido made her a well-rounded business leader. During her time at The Habit, Iwona built a successful marketing team and a foundation for modern marketing. In her current role as COO, Iwona works to prepare The Habit operations for growth by optimizing the model, creating structures supporting both equity and franchise expansion, and building the bench of future leaders. Iwona finds immense satisfaction in developing talent and contributing to the career development of those around her.


Tiffany Furman, Chief Financial Officer

As one of the newest members joining The Habit in 2022, Tiffany Furman comes from a background of business planning and franchise development with fellow Yum Brands! subsidiary Taco Bell. In her latest role as CFO for The Habit, Tiffany is able to combine her finance and franchise expertise to develop a business model that pushes the Guest experience to be better. During her 15-year-long tenure at Taco Bell, Tiffany discovered the importance of forming great relationships with franchisees and continues to build those strong ties with The Habit owners. Evolving and innovating motivate Tiffany in the workplace and she is always brainstorming ways to improve policy, strategic development, market planning and more.


Tanya Corners, Chief People Officer

Before joining The Habit, Tanya Corners developed her passion for people and food while working in the restaurant industry and also obtained her masters in HR. When she became a part of The Habit 11 years ago, Tanya was the first HR leader and established the department, building a reliable team around her and the brand that focused on a supportive culture. As The Habit has expanded in the last decade, Tanya has been focused on continuing growth with diverse and capable team members by backing their leadership development. With more recent access to Yum! Brands resources, Tanya and her team have been able to assist in providing opportunities for individuals in leadership programs, where they can progress their professional skillset. Structuring the organization in a way that supports the growth of all people is what motivates Tanya and inspires her to continue to strive for the best culture at The Habit.


Shannon, Iwona, Tiffany and Tanya are only a few women at The Habit driving brand engagement and outlook, creating an environment conducive for positive growth and change. With their skillset, knowledge and action, The Habit franchise will continue to position itself as a valuable opportunity for Guests and restaurant operators alike.


Interested in joining a brand like The Habit that has a strong executive team to support your business goals? Fill out the online inquiry form to get in touch with our team today.

Building Better Habits: Non-Traditional Licensing with John Phillips


In the first edition of our “Building Better Habits” series, learn more about the topic of non-traditional licensing with a feature from John Phillips, The Habit Burger Grill’s Chief Global Business Partnerships Officer. With over 25 years of franchise knowledge and a decade long-relationship with The Habit, John shares his insight on the various aspects of the non-traditional franchise model. Continue reading to learn more.


Why do you think The Habit presents an attractive model to licensees?


JP: The fact that we have a diverse, fresh menu that plays across varied demographics and age groups without the need for table service is a huge draw for licensees. The Habit’s promising volumes that translate well into the non-traditional realm means we’re nimble enough to adapt our model to the needs of the operator and their market. One instance of this flexibility, is our ability to alter menu offerings to best suit the needs of operators and their restaurant business.


Describe the flexibility of The Habit’s restaurant real estate formats for non-traditional sites. Are licensees able to serve guests the same way a traditional restaurant can?


JP: Our non-traditional locations maintain the quality of service our Guests expect just the same as our traditional restaurants. While most sites have front counter service and a fully operational kitchen in just 1000 sq. ft., we also have other sites with full dining rooms. In our college campus sites, we especially appeal to the students and faculty with our handhelds that make a great grab and go option. This is also the case for our non-traditional sites that fit in airports, theme parks, and casinos.


What kind of support do non-traditional Habit operators receive?


JP: To start, Habit licensees receive assistance with prototypical plans, construction, design and sourcing the implementation of IT systems. With our access to top-tier equipment and millwork suppliers to finish out the process, and onsite training and support in the first 3-4 weeks of business, we ensure our licensees can have a successful grand opening and ongoing restaurant operations. The licensees also have a dedicated business manager that helps them address any operational issues they may run into.


In his closing thoughts, John iterates that it is incumbent upon The Habit to be a good partner with the licensee to understand what market needs they are looking to fulfill in a non-traditional manner. If you are interested in discussing non-traditional or traditional growth opportunities with our better-burger franchise, fill out the online inquiry form to get in touch with our team today.

The Habit’s 2022 Year in Review


With the beginning of 2023 upon us, we at The Habit Burger Grill are reflecting on the continued growth and business accomplishments from this year that have enabled our brand to stay at the top of the competitive fast casual restaurant business.


Award-Winning Franchise Opportunity
Our handcrafted food and diverse menu, modern and inviting restaurant atmosphere, and genuine hospitality continue to resonate with Guests and franchise business owners alike. We take pride in our fresh, made-to-order menu offerings as well as our Guest-first service mentality which has allowed us to collect a few distinctions this year. The Habit has been recognized on the Contenders list of QSR Magazine’s QSR 50, named by Newsweek as one of America’s Favorite Restaurant Chains in 2022, and ranked #148 on the Franchise Times Top 500 list, 23 spots higher than in 2021. Furthermore, we received the Zor Award by Franchise Times as the Top Brand to Buy. We have positioned the brand to continue to have long-term Guest appeal as we continue our incredible growth in the better burger category with qualified restaurant owners and operators.

Championing Innovation and Diversity in Business

The Habit’s robust and proprietary business systems along with the backing and scale of Yum! Brands enables us to build a healthy business and working culture for all of our partners. We aim to nurture a culture of innovation and diversity across all facets of our organization. In August, Yum! Brands was named one of the top franchise companies doing the most to champion diversity through its Unlocking Opportunity initiative. The Habit Burger Grill is an integral part of this program and it allows us and our partners to promote equity & inclusion, education, and entrepreneurship. We advocate for capable and committed individuals from all walks of life to be a part of our brand and support their professional and business development journey.


Looking to the Franchise Future

The Habit’s growth momentum from 2022 continues to build both in our equity and our franchise restaurant presence on our journey to over 2,000 restaurants nationwide. With our title as a top franchise opportunity, the future for our brand has unlimited growth potential. Our Guest experience is unrivaled and our marketing and supply chain expertise puts The Habit in a prime position to face economic challenges should they arise. This year alone, we opened 33 new restaurants bringing our footprint to a total of 348 locations.


To learn more about The Habit franchise opportunity and discover the available options to further your professional and business goals in 2023 with our renowned brand, please explore our website to learn more about The Habit franchise and fill out our initial inquiry form to get in touch with our franchise development team.


Discover The Habit’s Flexible Real Estate Footprint




The Habit franchise provides restaurant investors a variety of real estate formats, granting our owners the flexibility to tap into niche markets across the country and deliver a next-level culinary experience to our far-reaching fan base. The adaptable nature of our real estate model allows our acclaimed restaurant franchise to fit into various types of properties – whether landing on an existing site or constructing a restaurant from the ground-up to fit perfectly in your market, our franchise support team is there to provide guidance from the start.


Take a deeper dive into The Habit’s build-out options below:


Freestanding with Drive-Thru

Our freestanding with drive-thru format ranges from 2,500-3,000 square feet and fits well in suburban territories and shopping centers. With ample room comes the opportunity to make the most of The Habit’s multiple revenue channels, like our kiosk ordering system, curbside pick-up, 3rd party delivery and more.


Endcaps with Optional Drive-Thru

In terms of integrated real estate selection, The Habit’s endcap model fits well in strip malls and is particularly flexible. With a drive-thru option, endcaps can range between 2,400 and 2,800 square feet while allowing plenty of space for dine-in seating. Much like the Freestanding Drive-Thru model, The Habit’s Endcap formats deliver a seamless Guest experience while also allowing space for optimized front-of-house and back-of-house operations.



The Habit’s non-traditional models fit a variety of real estate venues, from college campuses and airports, to amusement parks, retail complexes and more. These high-traffic areas allow franchise owners to hit the ground running from opening day. Plus, adaptable licensing options allow restaurants to fit into existing real estate sites, typically under 1,200 square feet, often without the need for complete build-out construction from the ground-up.


If you’re looking for a fast-casual franchise with a flexible footprint, get in touch by filling out our inquiry form. Start your franchising journey with The Habit today!

The Habit Paves Way for Multi-Unit Franchise Success


With restaurant franchise ownership comes the opportunity for sophisticated investors to expand their portfolio. In fact, multi-unit ownership is steadily on the rise and according to FRANdata, 54% of all franchises in the U.S. are owned by multi-unit operators. The Habit’s multi-unit franchise opportunity allows our owners to diversify their revenue channels and scale their business by leveraging existing overhead. Below are key factors of our franchise model that allow The Habit’s multi-unit operators to unlock new levels of success:


Variety of Real Estate Models

Giving our owners a wide range of real estate models to choose from, The Habit’s flexible footprint means franchisees can leverage a variety of optimal sites for their restaurants. In-line end caps, end-cap drive-thrus and free-standing drive-thrus all fit well in suburban markets and our non-traditional venues offer unique options for colleges and universities, airports and amusement park complexes.


Area Development and Securement Support

After the development agreement is finalized, our team provides owners with suburban-centric market planning, site selection guidance, exterior and interior store designs, support through the construction process and access to a list of preferred vendors. Following the buildout process, our team will continue providing support in several aspects of training and equipment sourcing so you can optimize the performance potential of your future restaurants.


On-Going Franchise Assistance

Once franchisees have their restaurants up and running, The Habit’s hands-on guidance continues. From marketing and our in-house Restaurant Service Helpdesk technology aid to our brand-standard training and product innovation, The Habit franchise team has got our owners covered, allowing them to focus on diversifying their investment by adding more units. The Habit’s largest multi-unit franchisee, Stan Singh, began his franchise journey with 20 KFC restaurants. Singh has since added 12 Habit Burger Grill restaurants and two food trucks to his portfolio, a milestone he was able to reach because of the all-access guidance of our franchisee support team.


Singh recently stated, “The Habit team’s hands-on guidance and proven business model have allowed me to grow my portfolio beyond what I expected.”


If you’re looking for a multi-unit franchise opportunity that will take your investment to the next level, inquire about our franchise opportunity by filling out our inquiry form and start your franchising journey with The Habit!

Executing Strategic Expansion with Shannon Hennessy, President of The Habit Burger Grill

Shannon Hennessy


If you haven’t yet heard, our leadership team has recently grown with the addition of a new skilled member. Shannon Hennessy joins The Habit Burger Grill team to take on the new role of President, after nearly three years of delivering steadfast results-driven work as Global CFO of KFC. Since welcoming Shannon to the position, we’ve taken the time to chat with her about her career and what motivates her as a leader and trailblazer in the franchise and restaurant industries.


Learn more about Shannon’s journey that led her to The Habit in the exclusive Q&A below:


You have recently joined The Habit Burger Grill. What aspects of this role are you most looking forward to?


SH: I am very excited to join the brand during an aggressive growth phase, and work alongside our teams in marketing, development, franchising and finance. I fell in love with the Habit on my first bite of a charburger, sitting on a sunny patio in Arizona! I have since grown to understand and appreciate the operational system that delivers incredible consistency of operations and customer experience, which is particularly impressive given the complexity of our menu and food preparation. Furthermore, I’m eager to work alongside such a passionate team. As I’ve met the rest of The Habit team, I’ve seen and truly admire their hustle – for example, the pivot from dine-in to digital is phenomenal and showcases our speed and agility.


What shapes your leadership style and what motivates you in the workplace?


SH: I always say the two things that motivate me are people and problems. I love working in teams and having different perspectives provide insight when problem-solving. My eyes light up when encountering a new and complex problem. To me, execution is a complex and vital process and one of my biggest learnings from working with KFC on the global level. I am also incredibly committed to LGBTQ+ inclusion and advancing equity and belonging in the workplace. These passions of mine have shaped me into the leader I am today, and I aim to keep bringing people together to creatively solve problems and drive change.


How do you see your new role as president fitting into the company and driving strategy?


SH: I was a consultant for many years before joining YUM, and have a deep appreciation for strategy. The Habit has so many great things going for us that will fuel our growth – we’re positioned in an elevated “craft casual” segment, our die-hard food fans visit us frequently, and we have very strong capabilities in operations and technology. We also have some challenges to sort out to ensure we can scale our concept in a consistent and profitable way. I look forward to working with our teams to drive higher brand awareness and sales, clarify our expansion strategy, define the format of the future, and improve margins while preserving our high standards for quality and freshness.


I’m a big advocate of the Yum! Leadership model of smart, heart and courage. I am a heart-first leader through and through. I love working in this people-driven business as much as I love food, and I’m happy to partner with the winning team at The Habit!


Shannon Hennessy is as passionate about the craft as much as The Habit is, and her guidance through our growth initiative will prove invaluable to our fast casual restaurant franchise. If you want to get in on our growth plans and learn from experts like Shannon as a Habit franchisee, inquire about our franchise opportunity by filling out our inquiry form to start your multi-unit franchising journey with The Habit!

How The Habit Stands Out from the Rest in the Burger Category

Quality - First, Guest - Focused


Quality is our priority here at The Habit Burger Grill. From our flavorful and unique menu creations to our top-of-the-line franchisee support system, The Habit keeps a quality-first mindset for every aspect of our burger franchise. To remain as one of the top burger franchises in the nation, we instill excellence into avenues of our business model that help our franchise owners operate at outstanding levels. Here are a few ways we marry tech, operations and culinary expertise into a formula for franchise success:


Staying on the Leading Edge of Operational Tech

User-friendly tech is a necessary to streamline restaurant operations. This is especially true in recent years as the importance of digital hospitality and off-premise dining increased. To help restaurant operators keep digital platforms, ordering channels, kiosks and apps in tune, we’ve armed them with proprietary tech that can do it all.  Chief Information Officer for The Habit, Mike Repetti, has led our technological innovations and continues to find ways for The Habit to invest in its digital journey, like implementing advanced digital ordering platforms that send orders to the kitchen on the fly when a driver or guest arrives earlier than scheduled for pick up.


Culinary Innovation within the Quick Service Sector

When it comes to menu advancements and innovation, The Habit stays a cut above the rest with high-quality menu items and enticing LTOs. Thanks to our comprehensive support system and operator-first mindset, franchise owners have the ability to successfully launch new menu items with ease. Take our latest LTO as an example, the Basil Pesto Chicken Sandwich inspired by Executive Chef Adam Baird. It’s one example of the elevated culinary experience our guests love and have come to expect from The Habit.


Our recent accolades also prove how we stay on the leading edge of the restaurant industry. This past month, The Habit ranked #2 on the Contenders list of QSR Magazine’s QSR 50, a list of the top 50+ quick-service brands in the U.S. ranked by systemwide sales.


Learn more about our distinctive franchise opportunity on our website and fill our inquiry form to start your multi-unit franchising journey with The Habit!


Mid-Year Report: The Habit’s Growth is Heating Up


After rounding out the first half of 2022, The Habit Burger Grill continues down the path to notable franchise growth.

Now with over 330 restaurants in 14 U.S. states and 11 international locations, we’d like to reflect on achievements and milestones we’ve reached at the mid-point of the year.

In Q1 of 2022, our system sales grew 17 percent year-over-year, fueled by 13 percent unit growth and a 3 percent same-stores sales increase. Plus, over the past six months, we’ve been turning up the heat to open more locations with qualified investors and supporting franchisees in every step of running successful restaurants.

As of June of this year, 20 new Habit Burger Grill restaurants have opened globally, expanding our franchise development footprint in California, North Carolina, Arizona, New Jersey, Washington, and Cambodia. Along with openings, The Habit franchise system has secured development agreements in various markets. A recently signed development agreement for 12 new locations in San Bernardino county with Aharon Aminpour is an exciting step towards more multi-unit growth in our home state.

“There are so many advantages to The Habit Burger Grill’s franchise model, the opportunity to help grow the brand’s footprint in Southern California felt like a no-brainer,” said Aminpour.

Rounding out the second quarter, we were ecstatic to have our franchise efforts recognized after being been named a Top Food Franchise and a Top Global Franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine, ranking #116 in the Top Global Franchises category and #6 in the “Best of: Hamburgers” ranking. In addition, earlier this year, The Habit Burger Grill was not only named as a “Best Buy” franchise, but a finalist in the ‘Full Speed Ahead’ category at the Franchise Times annual Zor Awards.

With our innovative menu, extensive training and franchisee support, and all-access digital customer experience, we are thrilled to continue introducing our award-winning and delicious chargrilled burger concept to new and expanding areas from coast-to-coast.

Don’t just take it from us – you can read all about our recent wins in this article from QSR Magazine and visit our website to start your franchise journey with The Habit!

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