Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz has accepted a position with a major fast food chain, hoping to revitalize the brand for a new generation of consumers. The goal is to use his celebrity (and his business savvy) to assist in bringing the business back from two bankruptcies over the last three decades.
Krystal, a restaurant chain known for its little squared sandwiches and steamed onions, has hired the “I’m Different” chart-topper to be its Head of Creative Marketing, according to AfroTech.
The entertainer would lead the brand in launching innovative partnerships, including a custom co-branded Krystal restaurant, a “Luxe Line” of premium food, and NFTs.
More than just an entertainer, 2 Chainz, whose real name is Tauheed K. Epps, brings to the table a portfolio of expertise that is attractive to the Southeastern U.S. chain, which was founded in 1932 in Tennessee.
In 1995, Krystal filed for bankruptcy due to “class-action lawsuits from employees over failure to pay overtime,” filing again in 2020 after failing to raise enough capital to keep its corporate head above water.
The Fortress Investment Group scooped the brand up in May 2020 after the second filing for $48 million acquiring also the $21.5 million worth of debt saddling the company. By the time that deal was finalized 182 of the 298 Krystal locations were corporate-owned restaurants, with the remained owned by franchisees.
Thomas Stager was then hired as president of the company, and he had the vision to bring in the 6-foot-5 influencer.
While tall in stature, 2 Chainz is also a giant in business, comfortably resting on an estimated net worth of $12 million.
A successful musician, 2 Chainz, along with other Atlanta artists like T.I. and Gucci Mane, has helped catapult the genre of “Trap Music” into mainstream America, making major moves since his debut solo album in 2010.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, he said, “We’re the pop stars. Trap rap is pop now. People’s ears have adjusted to what we have to say and how we say it.”
Still, there are other spaces, outside of music, where his social fingerprint has made an impact financially.
He has made solar energy cool, investing in a company called Heliogen. Along with Juicy J from the Oscar Award-winning group Three 6 Mafia, he is participating in the growth of the company that is now worth $2 billion.
He has a marijuana company called GAS Cannabis, which teamed up in 2021 with a tech platform called Camp Nova to provide home delivery for his line, and several multi-million homes in his real estate portfolio.
As a tastemaker, 2 Chainz was also hired as the host of the influencer television show, “The Most Expensivest” where he shared with his viewers food, clothing, travel and etc. that only the 1% are able to enjoy.
Out of his many businesses and ventures, it is his three Esco Restaurant & Tapas lounges in Atlanta that might most inform his new position with Krystal. Deemed one of the hottest clubs and eateries in the area, the Esco Restaurant & Tapas are often standing-room only.
It is Krystal’s hope some of his College Park drip and ability to convince fans of what is cool will change the trajectory of the company’s future.
In addition to the rapper-turned-entrepreneur, the company has brought in Casey Terrell as the chief marketing officer, who also hired former NFL wide receiver Victor Cruz to help shape the company’s new face.
Stager said in an interview with Digiday, “[We’re] really leaning on our 2 Chainz partnership. He’s our head of creative, but he’s more of a business partner. He’s a great partner for us to be able to talk to an audience that we’ve never been able to reach before.”
“He’s got millions and millions of followers on social. He’s got an amazing reach and voice,” he continued. “And so for us, that’s a great partner for us to maintain that relevancy to be able to talk to these segments that we haven’t before.”
Ultimately, 2 Chainz is most valuable because he is in tune with the zeitgeist of fans that could easily translate into customers.