The Demand for Charcuterie and Graze-Style Dining

Charcuterie Picnic Box Graze Craze
(L-R) ; ; and the Large + Small Picnic Boxes (Photos Courtesy of Graze Craze)

Q&A with Cory Hibbard, President of Graze Craze


Charcuterie and graze-style dining has been around far longer than most realize but it has exploded in popularity in recent years. The National Restaurant Association identified it as a top 3 menu trend and No. 1 in appetizers for 2023.

With the rise of keto, gluten-free, and other diets, charcuterie has become a simple, delicious, and flexible meal. More restaurants have added charcuterie to their menus, offering an assortment of meats and cheeses as an appetizer.

Leading the craze for grazing is Graze Craze, whose in-store Grazologists™ curate hand-crafted, impeccably designed, sweet and savory charcuterie boards and picnic boxes made with the highest quality ingredients and arranged with perfection. Ideal for every occasion, Graze Craze sees charcuterie as more than grazing but as an opportunity for social gathering. Growing from a concept founded by a woman entrepreneur and US Air Force veteran, Graze Craze has grown significantly and is now among the Starpoint Brands™ constellation of trusted companies within the United Franchise Group, representing the very best in their industries.

Curious about the continued growth of charcuterie and Graze Craze, we sought out the company’s president, Cory Hibbard, who drives the strategic direction of the rapidly growing brand.


Can you tell our readers more about what Graze Craze is?

Absolutely! Graze Craze is the leading franchise within the graze style food category. We offer an alternative experience to traditional dining options as well as catering for every occasion. We specialize in artfully designed, hand-crafted charcuterie boards of gourmet meats, cheeses, fresh fruits, veggies, sweets and more.

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In 2021, United Franchise Group formed a strategic alliance with Graze Craze to launch and oversee its franchise program. We began franchising Graze Craze in August of that same year, and the rest is history.

What makes Graze Craze different from other concepts?

Graze Craze President Cory Hibbard
Graze Craze President Cory Hibbard

We see ourselves as the first consolidated concept in the marketplace. Charcuterie is a fragmented industry with little consistency; we aimed to change that. We’re the first to scale the proposition into a proven franchise concept.

With Graze Craze, customers can be assured that they are receiving the highest quality product handled with the utmost care and safety. We have strong vendor partnerships and stringent food safety protocols in place, and we provide in-depth training for all our franchise owners and their staff.

How is Graze Craze’s food presented?

We offer Grazing Style Boards, Grazing Boxes, and Grab And Go options. Our boards come in small, medium, and large, serving between six and 12 people depending on the size. They are fully customizable so our customers can curate their own selection of premium meats and cheeses, fresh produce, sweet treats, dips, etc. The boards are hand-crafted and artfully designed so they’re a very visually appealing product and can elevate any event, big or small. We also offer Grazing Tables for larger events, which can serve hundreds of people.

Our Grazing Boxes come in two sizes – The Lone Grazer for one or two individuals, and The Picnic Box for four people. Our Grab And Go options include the Grab And Graze which is designed as a small meal for one, as well as our Char-Cutie-Cup which is designed as a snack for one on the go.

Does this generate any cost savings for the brand and/or its owners?

Our model is designed to be cost-effective for our franchise owners. Most of our locations are retail storefronts so there aren’t dining rooms. This means a smaller real estate footprint and lower overhead costs. And because our food doesn’t require cooking, there’s no expensive kitchen package or bulky equipment to worry about.

We offer similar ingredients in our charcuterie boards, streamlining our supply chain and minimizing shipping distribution costs. Our Grazologists™ also reduce food waste by repurposing fruits that may not meet aesthetic standards for jams and other accompaniments on our boards.

You recently announced that you were advancing your expansion in the Atlanta metro area. What is drawing you there?

We already have a few locations in the Atlanta metro area which are seeing great success. Atlanta is a thriving metropolis with an awesome food scene, a growing population, and a strong business culture. While not everyone knows this, Georgia is an up-and-coming wine destination as well.

Atlanta is located just about an hour south of the Dahlonega Plateau, which has the highest concentration of wine producers in the state. Charcuterie and wine is a perennial combination, and we see it as a growth opportunity for our brand.

Char-Cutie-Cup
A Char-Cutie-Cup from Graze Craze

Can you share more about your brand growth and development?

The launch of our franchise program in 2021 catapulted our growth and development nationwide. We more than quadrupled our number of open locations last year and were averaging approximately one new location per week by Q4 2022. Looking ahead, we plan to maintain that momentum with 29 new locations coming soon and expansion into four new states.

What is involved in running a Graze Craze?

As a franchise, our owners are given a turnkey opportunity that provides proven systems and processes, as well as ongoing support in areas like marketing, operations, and training. That said, running a Graze Craze can be simple – if the proper steps are followed – as it mitigates a lot of the leg work often required in a start-up operation. Moreover, prospective owners aren’t required to have food prep experience – we teach them everything they need to know!

Day-to-day, Graze Craze operators usually have a staff of 2-4 people to help fulfill orders and design boards. We call them Grazologists™ and they provide a fully accessible concierge grade of customer service, working closely with customers on the little details that matter most.

What can we expect from Graze Craze in the future?

Graze Craze is in the midst of a significant growth period right now and we don’t foresee that slowing down anytime soon. We expect more domestic development from us in the U.S., driving our footprint into more states, as well as some international expansion. We’re also looking to launch new menu items to expand our offerings, provide a consistent and delicious product across the globe, and introduce additional revenue streams for our franchise owners.

How can someone in the industry place an order from Graze Craze?

Orders can be placed at any of our locations with one of our in-store Grazologists™ or we offer online ordering at our website.

  • RATIONAL USA
  • McKee Foods
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • Red Gold Sacramento
  • Day & Nite
  • Inline Plastics
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • Cuisine Solutions
  • Imperial Dade
  • Atosa USA
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • RAK Porcelain
  • AyrKing Mixstir
Joyce Appelman
Joyce Appelman is the SCOOP News Editor and Senior Contributing Writer for Total Food Service and previously the National Communications Director for C-CAP, Careers through Culinary Arts Program. An industry leader supporting education and scholarships, she has been instrumental in opening career opportunities for many young people in the foodservice industry. Email her at joyceappelman@gmail.com