MRM Franchise Feed: Jeremiah’s Opens 50th During 25th Anniversary, Wahlburgers Wild and Robotic Pizza | MRM Franchise Feed: Jeremiah’s Opens 50th During 25th Anniversary, Wahlburgers Wild and Robotic Pizza | Modern Restaurant Management

Audria Easterly

Table of Contents MRM’s Franchise Feed features news on the restaurant franchise and MUFSO landscape. A Deal to Taco ‘BoutJeremiah’s Marks MilestoneRapid Growth at Chicken Salad ChickBrass Tap Building on MomentumVitality Bowls Looks to GrowPizza Venture Employee Appreciation DayCurtis Named President of Burger King US and CanadaRoll-Em-Up Keeps Rolling Up DealsDaddy’s […]

MRM’s Franchise Feed features news on the restaurant franchise and MUFSO landscape.

 A Deal to Taco ‘Bout

Taco John’s International Inc.  inked its biggest area development agreement to date with the largest Wendy’s franchisee, Meritage Hospitality Group, Inc. Per the terms of the agreement, the group will build 50 new Taco John’s restaurants by March 31, 2026 with options to develop an additional 150 restaurants. 

“Taco John’s is the perfect fit for our company. While exploring concepts to expand our portfolio, we were quickly attracted to Taco John’s,” said Gary Rose, president and COO of Meritage Hospitality Group. “We are excited about the Mexican restaurant segment and the Bigger, Bolder, Better direction of the brand. We’re excited to open our first restaurants near our headquarters in west Michigan in 2022.” 

“This is historic for our brand,” said Brooks Speirs, vice president for franchise development. “As we begin our aggressive growth into new markets, there is no better partner than Meritage. While getting to know the group, I’ve been impressed  with the organizational infrastructure, attention to detail, commitment to people, operations capabilities and development of top-notch restaurants. The best is yet to come for Taco John’s!” 

Differentiating itself in the popular Mexican quick-service segment, Taco John’s prides itself on a unique menu that features delicious, quality-made food. Its commitment to quality has established the brand as the go-to restaurant in its markets. Additionally, its significant drive-thru business, which represents 65% of systemwide sales, has helped insulate the brand from recent market shifts. 

“Over the last few years, we have been building fantastic momentum,” said Jim Creel, president and CEO of Taco John’s. “As a 50-plus year-old brand we knew we needed a modern look to energize our current locations. At the same time, we have elevated our executive team and board. Our evolution has helped us become an even more appealing investment to large multi-unit operators. The agreement with Meritage is a capstone moment, illuminating all the hard work the Taco John’s team has put in place.” 

Taco John’s has more than 380 stores open across 22 states and is targeting qualified and experienced franchisees to develop in dynamic markets across the country. 

Jeremiah’s Marks Milestone

Jeremiah’s Italian Ice has surpassed yet another milestone as the brand prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary, as well as, the opening of its 50th location. Proving itself a frozen force in the QSR dessert space, the brand has successfully grown from 22 corporate units in 2019 to 50 units this year, and is on track to open an additional 20 locations by year’s end.

The 50th location was awarded to Hali Brecht and will be opening in Deltona, FL this August. Brecht started working at Jeremiah’s right out of high school as a part-time employee. In less than two years, she became a store manager and eventually an area manager, helping open a dozen corporate stores. Brecht’s new franchise will be located at 605 Courtland Blvd in Courtland, on the corner of Courtland Blvd & Fort Smith Blvd near Publix.

“Jeremiah’s is a place of so many incredibly important events – first dates, weddings, homecomings,” said Brecht “It warms my heart that one of our customers has even named their child Jeremiah in honor of our exceptional brand. It’s a remarkable testament to how special the Jeremiah’s brand truly is.”

Another exciting addition to the Jeremiah’s family is the LEAP Academy, which is a brand new Training and Development Center. At LEAP Academy, the paramount focus is to lead through the brand’s Core Values, Vision, and Mission that unite the company. Employees will learn the art of making the perfectly layered Gelati and master the skills needed to operate a Jeremiah’s franchise. At LEAP Academy, Store Managers, Franchise Owners, and high-potential Frog Squad Members, can also expect to perfect the Jeremiah’s Chill Chat, Launch Pad, GX360, and much more.

“As I look back on the last 25 years, I can honestly say I am humbled to be where we are today. This all started out as a high school dream and watching it come to fruition has been truly extraordinary” said Litwack. “I’m so grateful to have had such an incredible opportunity to give back to these communities, but without our customers and franchisees none of this would have been possible.”

Jeremiah’s is showing no signs of slowing down, awarding 194 franchise units across more than 74 franchise groups and projecting nearly 70 open units by year’s end.  In addition, the brand is looking forward to expand its presence into new markets, with franchise agreements awarded in Oklahoma, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Nevada and Colorado.

“We knew that the concept was poised for growth when we first started working with Jeremiah’s,” stated Cameron Cummins, Co-Founder of Pivotal Growth Partners and Chief Development Officer for Jeremiah’s Italian Ice. “I’ve been involved in franchising for nearly 20 years and I have never seen pent up demand resulting in growth like this before. We are proud of our team for all the hard work they have contributed and are eager to share Jeremiah’s delicious frozen treats with communities in new markets across the country.”

To help guide the brand’s rapid expansion, Jeremiah’s Italian Ice has partnered with Pivotal Growth Partners – an experienced team of franchise veterans who’ve led some of the top brands in foodservice to award-winning growth.

Rapid Growth at Chicken Salad Chick

Chicken Salad Chick had a successful first half of 2021, opening 17 new locations, including market debuts in South Florida; Roanoke, Virginia; and Indianapolis, Indiana. Chicken Salad Chick also welcomed four new franchise owners to the Chick network and gained a generous lead on the brand’s projected 40 openings for 2021. Additionally, the brand signed 14 franchise agreements for target markets such as Florida, Texas, Virginia, and Indiana. Overall, in the first half of 2021, Chicken Salad Chick’s total system sales are up +50 percent year-over-year.

“Coming off a turbulent year for so many businesses, we remain grateful to Chick fans and dedicated teams, who have propelled our success and growth through today. In today’s competitive market of fast casual chicken concepts, our brand has continued to differentiate itself with our made-from-scratch food and our hospitable atmosphere that guests are excited to return to,” said Scott Deviney, CEO of Chicken Salad Chick. “This year, in addition to our in-restaurant dining, we have leaned into digital ordering, third party delivery and packaging updates to serve our guests with greater convenience.”

Chicken Salad Chick has seen strong sales growth this spring and summer across all of its guest access channels with dine-in, takeout, drive-thru, digital ordering and delivery and catering. Additionally, to meet the demand for online ordering, Chicken Salad Chick rolled out third-party delivery through UberEats and DoorDash, making it more convenient for chicken salad enthusiasts to order their meal. The renewed sales in catering can be attributed to the branded box lunch catering options, which offer individualized portions of chicken salad meals. This unique spin on catering now makes up more than 75 percent of the company’s catering product mix, resulting in a double-digit catering sales increase over 2019. The brand’s momentum in the first half of 2021 culminated with the opening of its 200th location this summer in LaGrange, GA.

“From offering delivery to new catering options, we have continued to not only earn the respect and trust of guests but also existing franchise owners, many of whom have now begun evolving into multi-unit restaurant owners,” said Deviney. “Our operators are resilient and truly take pride in serving their communities, which has enabled our rapid development. We look forward to continued growth alongside our dedicated franchise owners and reaching many more extraordinary milestones, including our 200th restaurant opening on the horizon.”

Chicken Salad Chick continues to target states like Virginia, West Virginia, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, in the Southern, Midwest regions for franchise development and is actively seeking individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit who possess high energy and enthusiasm for the brand, marketing skills and the ability to manage a strong team. Restaurant experience is preferred. Interested candidates should have a minimum net worth of $600,000 and liquid assets of at least $200,000. Franchisees can expect the initial investment to be approximately $562,000 – $740,000 with a $50,000 initial franchise fee.

Brass Tap Building on Momentum

After securing 19 new franchise deals and shattering AUV growth records in the first half of 2021, The Brass Tap, the nationwide nearly 50-unit craft beer franchise, is planning to build on its recent momentum for even more growth in the second half of the year.

The Brass Tap’s AUV* reached nearly $2 million in 2021’s Q2, due in part to a series of new openings like the Modesto, California location. The unit pulled in an opening week revenue of $79,000, setting a new company record.

“We are proud to be a brand that was able to find success during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are excited to continue to ride that wave,” said Chris Elliott, CEO of The Brass Tap. “Our record growth is a testament to the hard work of our franchisees and our commitment to provide world-class service across the nation.”

The brand anticipates a continued trend of rapid expansion, thanks to its surging customer support at existing locations.

The annualized AUV for The Brass Tap has increased by more than six figures in each of the past three years. The franchise increased its annualized figure by $400,000 from 2019 to 2020, a jump four times larger than its increase in the previous year. The craft beer chain’s expected AUV is on track to further this increasing trend, thanks to favorable franchise regard by consumers and an expansion into key markets.

The franchise has signed 19 new deals this year alone. The company has also seen a 6% increase in comps compared to 2019 and a 13% increase when compared to its second quarter of business just two years ago.

“We had plenty of strong outcomes in the past few months throughout our business model, and our immediate success this year has helped lay a framework for more expansion. We are now even more equipped to take on challenges,” Elliott said.

Houston and Dallas are primary markets the company has targeted for new prospective locations, and The Brass Tap has received multiple franchisee applications in each city, some deals targeting as many as five units. This is in addition to the already staggering amount of multi-unit deals it has inked in the past several months.

“We are thrilled to see our existing locations doing so well, but we are equally excited about the inquiries we have received from other people looking to join in as a franchisee,” said Jamie Cecil, vice president of franchise development for The Brass Tap. “We are in constant contact with more cities and more investors that can push our business to even further heights, and many of those contacts are in markets where we’ve hoped to expand for a long time.”

Vitality Bowls Looks to Grow

Vitality Bowls, is coming off of two successful quarters and is geared up for noteworthy expansion in the balance of 2021.

Approaching its 10-year anniversary in October of this year, the Northern California-based company has recently announced four new franchise agreements and seven new signed leases that will add more than 12 new stores to Vitality Bowls’ growing footprint, solidifying its status as a trailblazer in the health-food franchise space.

“After a strong start to the year, we are even more thrilled about what’s in store for Vitality Bowls in the months ahead,” said Roy Gilad, CEO of Vitality Bowls, who founded the company with his wife and company executive Tara. “Our development and operational teams have been hard at work for more than a year now, strengthening our franchise development strategies, planning and executing pivotal menu innovations and enhancing the capabilities and resources that go into the support we give to our franchisees. 

During the first two quarters of 2021, the brand’s systemwide sales increased by 68% from the first half of 2020. And, the newly-announced Savory Menu that Vitality Bowls will launch nationally this fall, featuring grain bowls, salads, wraps and toasts, has already proved to be successful in selected regional test markets, resulting in reduced labor costs and increased store AUV, boosting sales performances for participating franchise locations across all test markets.

This month, Vitality Bowls also announced the addition of John Mascali to its leadership team. Joining the brand as its newest Chief Operations Officer, Danville, California-based Mascali will now lead national strategies and operational leadership to support café sales and operations.

“We’re so proud of our team’s resilience and continued commitment to our mission to bring healthy dining alternatives and allergy-friendly nutrition to local communities across the country,” added Gilad. “As we celebrate our 10th year in business, Vitality Bowls is stronger than ever and we would not be in this position without the incredible work and dedication our corporate and franchisee team members have put in over the last decade.”

Nationwide growth remains a priority for the brand this year, and the company has identified markets in California, Texas, North Carolina, New York, Florida, Arizona, Tennessee and Florida as a natural next step for Vitality Bowls.

Pizza Venture Employee Appreciation Day

Papa John’s, comprised by 21 San Antonio stores as part of Pizza Venture of San Antonio, LLC, honored its employees’ contributions by creating its inaugural “Pizza Venture Employee Appreciation Day.” On August 10 at 3 p.m., its participating stores closed its doors early giving its Papa John’s San Antonio crew members the evening off to enjoy at day at the San Antonio Zoo with their families.   

More than half of employees and their families showed up for free food and drinks, face painting and unique Zoo experiences including animal ambassador team visits, Lory Landing Open, unlimited carousel rides and giraffe and hippo feedings.  

“We value our people, and given the year that we have all experienced, this is our way of showing our appreciation to our employees and how they are considered part of our Papa John’s family,” said Clark Mandigo III, president and COO of Pizza Venture of San Antonio, LLC. “We just wanted to give our employees the opportunity to enjoy time with their families at one of San Antonio’s beloved park destinations, as a way of saying, we appreciate you.”  

In addition to this inaugural employee appreciation event, Pizza Venture of San Antonio announced it is hiring for both part and full-time work positions. As there continues to be a strong demand for pizza carry-out and delivery during the pandemic, these local restaurants are looking to fill various positions, including delivery drivers, in-store team members, and shift managers all across the Pizza Venture franchise locations.  

“We’re a family, and we are thrilled to be in the position to show our gratitude to our employees, one of a company’s greatest assets, and to expanding our workforce,” added Mandigo III.  

Curtis Named President of Burger King US and Canada

Tom Curtis has been appointed President of Burger King U.S. & Canada.

“Tom joined us a few months ago and has quickly established a strong leadership position in the business and trust with our franchisees, informed by his 35 years of previous restaurant experience as both a franchisee and senior operations executive,” said José Cil,  CEO of Restaurant Brands International. “Tom will lead the acceleration of our business to deliver on our vision that Burger King should always be our guests’ first choice for a quality meal, an exceptional and convenient experience and great value. We have the right priorities identified and this is a matter of having a strong leader and team with the right focus and pace to deliver the high expectations that we have of ourselves.”

Tom Curtis

“I’m extremely impressed by the quality of our team and the partnership we have with our great franchisees. Together, we will work to accelerate the performance of the Burger King brand through an intense focus on our guest experience and success on five key priorities. We intend to play to our distinctive heritage and strengths, evolve our menu to deliver exceptional taste and value in key day parts, streamline our operations to provide our guests with a consistent, quality experience, accelerate our digital integration – led by the nation-wide launch of our Royal Perks loyalty program, and drive the transformation of our restaurant network with high quality locations, exciting design and high ROI for our franchisees,” said Tom Curtis, President of Burger King U.S. & Canada.

Roll-Em-Up Keeps Rolling Up Deals

Roll-Em-Up Taquitos – the nation’s first taquito-focused franchise, continues to take over the Southern California market. After announcing they signed a 9-unit development deal for Riverside County, the brand is ready to announce a new deal that will bring a total of five locations across Orange County. This development deal furthers Roll-Em-Up Taquitos goal of selling 100 units by end of 2021.

All five locations will be owned and operated by local entrepreneurs Ray and Leilani Libang, both health care providers who own and operate five nursing facilities across the Orange County area. As first-time franchisees, the duo is ready to open their first location by Q1 of 2022, with plans to open four more locations each following year.

“For over a year, we have been looking to join the franchise space and after visiting the Roll-Em-Up Taquitos in Chino Hills we were instantly sold. We fell in love with the great food and culture, plus the Reggae music.” stated Ray. 

The new development deal will roll out locations in Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Irvine, and Newport Beach.

“The whole Roll-Em-Up team has been really supportive and the overall experience has been incredible as us being first time franchisees,” added Ray. “We are excited to start this new business adventure with Roll-Em-Up Taquitos.” 

The story of Roll-Em-Up Taquitos’ is simple and began in the home of the Usrey family, where Father (Ron) and Son (Ryan) fell in love with Mama Karen’s famous beef taquitos. The Usrey family-including patriarch Ron – always talked about opening their taquitos-only eatery, but unfortunately, Mama Karen passed before that dream became a reality. Fast-forward to today, they are “Blastin Reggae” and opened the first Roll-Em-Up Taquitos in Chino Hills, California in 2019, where they sold an average of 3,500 taquitos a day. Today, the brand has three locations open across Southern California in Chino Hills, Brea and Victorville.

“We look forward to guiding both Ray and Leilani throughout this exciting time as new franchisees. Our team is thrilled to bring aboard franchisees who show a passion for our brand and all that we do,” stated Ryan Usrey, CEO and Founder of Roll-Em-Up Taquitos. “Orange County is an amazing area to continue our growth throughout Southern California.”

To share Mama Karen’s famous taquitos with families nationwide, Roll-Em-Up Taquitos is actively seeking franchise partners with previous restaurant ownership experience and passionate about the brand. With a territory fee of $20,000 and franchise fee of $20,000, the initial investment to own and operate a Roll-Em-Up Taquitos restaurant rages from $278,000 to $585,000.

Daddy’s Chicken Shack Plans National Expansion

 Daddy’s Chicken Shack plans for a national expansion offering a turn-key program including aHarrison restaurant design, technology-forward applications, comprehensive training program, expansive territories, and marketing tools to build a growing customer base.

Daddy’s menu offers a twist on the classic fried chicken sandwich, chicken & waffles, fries, salads, breakfast choices, and vegan options. The unique taste offers a fusion of American Southern with a hint of Asian, reflecting co-owners and founders, chef Pace Webb from Texas and her entrepreneur husband Chris Georgalas who is half Japanese.

“Our brand’s story is one of rich history, humble beginnings, and our consistent commitment to simple, high quality ingredients that tastes like a warm hug feels,” said Webb.

The original Daddy’s was opened in Pasadena, California in only 700 square feet of a historic office building downtown, where sales soared during the pandemic due primarily to its technology-focused approach that allows customers to engage with the brand through multiple channels. Offering customers more than a dozen ways to order for pick-up, dine-in, and delivery, Webb and Georgalas credit a lot of their success to extensive technology that doesn’t compromise on quality and flavor, resulting in a growing, loyal customer base.

“It’s all about quality, convenience, speed and accuracy — whether dining in, ordering on the app and picking up, or getting delivery — we’ve built our systems to execute the highest quality product no matter how the customer chooses to order,” said Georgalas.

The couple started working with Dr. Ben Litalien, CFE from Franchise Well and Daddy’s Chief Development Officer and Franchise Architect, to build their franchise strategy including a strategic introduction to an existing client for potential investment. The client, founder and Chairman of RE/MAX, Dave Liniger, was impressed with both the concept as well as the husband and wife team.

“After building one of the largest and most iconic brands in franchising, I looked for a captivating concept to invest in that had the ability to be nationwide in short order. I fell in love with the concept and the founders, and I’m looking forward to building another iconic brand,” said Liniger. 

Daddy’s is building its new flagship location and training facility in the Heights community in Houston, Texas, in a stand-alone high-traffic corner location offered by Braun Enterprises, a full-service commercial real estate company with a focus in Texas.

“We’ve worked with hundreds of local and national brands and after meeting Chris, we were very excited about the opportunity for Daddy’s Chicken to enter the market in one of our projects. With their focus on quality ingredients and consistency, Daddy’s will shine in the Heights, and we are pleased to be part of it,” said Dan Braun.

Daddy’s partnered with global architecture and design firm Harrison to design the Daddy’s concept to scale the brand rapidly, incorporating a variety of ordering methods to ensure customer ease and accuracy whether they are ordering online, from a mobile device, or in-person. The new design will feature technical innovations including kiosks for self-ordering, a pickup lane for delivery drivers and customers, and a re-imagined shack-like design without the clutter and archetypal choices.

“Daddy’s franchising model offers multi-unit operators the opportunity to take control of their existing markets and plug in a turn-key ‘better chicken’ offering that is second to none,” said Litalien. “Many of the legacy brands and even new entrants to the chicken space don’t have the ability to adjust their models to the current technology requirements needed to drive high volume and meet today’s customer expectations. So, out of the box, Daddy’s will establish itself as a significant player in the marketplace.”

Jack in the Box Relaunches Franchise Program

Jack in the Box Inc. awarded 16 franchise development agreements year-to-date through the end of Q3 of Fiscal Year 2021 to build 64 new locations in Arizona, California, Idaho, Texas and Utah. The announcement follows the relaunch of Jack in the Box’s franchise development program earlier this year encouraging existing and new franchisees to grow with the brand.

“Relaunching the franchise opportunity has been exciting and was one of our main priorities going into 2021. Over the last year and a half, we’ve proven to be pandemic-resistant and we’re eager to grow with our current franchisee network, as well as prospective owners,” said Darin Harris, CEO of Jack in the Box. “In order to grow, we needed to re-energize our franchisees and strengthen relationships with our existing franchisee network. We’re humbled that operators want to be part of Jack in the Box and we will continue to provide a brand that brings in guests and systems that ensure our franchisees are equipped to successfully provide great food and service.”

Following an impressive third quarter in which franchise same-store sales increased 10.3%, Jack in the Box is now ramping up development and looking to penetrate markets and build brand awareness. As part of the development agreements, Jack in the Box will enter Salt Lake City, Chicago and Louisville for the first time. The brand will also expand existing footprints in Houston, Phoenix, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Dallas, among other cities.

“This is a fun brand with immense growth potential, and we’re very encouraged to see such interest from franchisees looking to build their footprint and reach more guests across the communities they serve,” said Tim Linderman, Senior Vice President, Franchise and Corporate Development of Jack in the Box. “While we’re encouraged by the development interest, our work is really just beginning. We’ll continue to build a strong pipeline of future openings and ramp up real estate efforts to achieve our opening goals. The future is very bright at Jack in the Box, and we look forward to awarding more development agreements and opening additional restaurants shortly.”

With a goal of reaching 4 percent annual restaurant growth by 2025, Jack in the Box has opened 10 locations through the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2021. In addition, Jack in the Box unveiled its new MK12 prototype earlier this year, which is off-premise only and features a lane for drive-thru, as well as a lane for online pick-up and third-party delivery. The new prototype will cut development costs 18-23 percent and allows for more storage capacity and dual-assembly kitchens. The first two MK12 locations operating in Oklahoma and California are slated to open in fiscal year 2022.

Franchise opportunities remain in areas across the U.S., including the Southeast, Southwest, West, Northwest and Midwest and target states including North Carolina and South Carolina, and cities such as Chicago, Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Louisville and many surrounding areas. 

Piestro Partners with 800 Degrees Pizza

Piestro, the robotic pizzeria that’s crafting artisan pizza, announced it is partnering with 800 Degrees Pizza, the international pizza brand by chef Anthony Carron, to offer consumers a fully automated culinary experience, equipped with an authentic, custom pizza recipe designed for Piestro’s unique cooking technology, top photo.

Chef Carron has always taken an imaginative approach to pizza making. When establishing the first 800 Degrees Pizza location in 2012, he set forth to pair fresh, great-tasting ingredients with a woodfired oven to produce artisan pizzas in just 90 seconds. The success of 800 Degrees Pizza continued with national and international expansion into 2020, but as the pandemic hit, the entire restaurant industry faced new customer service constraints and the acute challenge of keeping up with the exploding demand for delivery-based dining. 

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The new dynamics of delivery/takeout culture and increased consumer pressure for more convenient food choices put a strain on restaurants’ access to labor and their ability to maintain high levels of quality and consistency.  Even with 800 Degrees Pizza’s impressive cooking speed, Chef Carron and the team believed they needed to do more to future-proof the brand and maintain the standards of excellence the chain has come to be known for. With his forward-thinking mindset, Chef Carron saw the promise of automation when a trusted industry colleague, Massimo Noja De Marco, reached out to discuss his latest venture – the automated pizzeria, Piestro.

“When Massimo and I first connected about Piestro’s technology, I saw both the immediate and long-term impact automation could have on our business,” said Carron. “Knowing Massimo’s exceptional background and the emphasis he places on quality and consistency in his machines, I knew this was a partnership we needed to make happen. We immediately began the process of developing recipes using the same imported, fresh and flavorful ingredients that made 800 Degrees Pizza so successful, and we were off to the races.”

The partnership will bring a completely new version of the 800 Degrees Pizza brand to high-traffic, easy-to-access locations through “800 Degrees by Piestro” machines. The partnership, which is kicking off with a projected order volume of 3,600 units to be produced and sold by Piestro over five years, will allow customers everywhere to experience the best ingredients and a perfect bite of consistently delicious artisan pizza – designed by two world-class pizza aficionados – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“This partnership is a clear indicator of the interest and potential for automation within the pizza industry,” said De Marco, CEO of Piestro. “I’ve known Chef Carron for years, and he exemplifies the spirit of operators dedicated to their craft, committed to delivering customers an unforgettable dining experience. The contactless cooking capabilities, fresh taste, speed and consistency that our automation and breakthrough oven technology bring are perfectly aligned with the values of 800 Degrees Pizza to provide customers an exceptional culinary experience. We can’t wait to give customers everywhere access to an international pizza brand with a robotic twist.”

Subway in Indonesia

Subway signed an agreement with PT Sari Sandwich Indonesia, a subsidiary of Indonesia’s food & beverage (F&B) retailer, PT Map Boga Adiperkasa Tbk (MBA), whose parent company is PT Mitra Adiperkasa Tbk (MAP). This agreement kicks off Subway’s aggressive plans to expand its international footprint. The partnership will launch Subway® restaurants in Indonesia by Q4 2021, with initial locations set to open in the Greater Jakarta region. 

“The demand for Subway® restaurants is unprecedented in many markets around the world, including Indonesia,” said John Chidsey, Chief Executive Officer of Subway. “MAP, Indonesia’s leading lifestyle retailer, is the ideal partner to kick off our expansion in the Asia Pacific region, where we know convenient, better-for-you options are in demand. This is just the start of our global expansion plans.” 

MBA has over 590 stores across 33 Indonesian cities serving brands like Starbucks, Pizza Marzano, Krispy Kreme and others. According to the agreement, the Subway® brand will be managed by PT Sari Sandwich Indonesia and expands MBA’s business portfolio to eight premium international brands. In addition, Indonesia will be the first-ever market to implement Subway’s exclusive country franchise model globally. Based on this model, MBA will solely spearhead Subway’s development in Indonesia with the goal of establishing strong and steady annual restaurant growth. 

“MBA recognizes the importance of food retailing and works with best-in-class brands, making Subway® a natural choice,” said V.P. Sharma, Group CEO of PT Mitra Adiperkasa Tbk. 

The partnership expands growth for both companies, allowing Subway® fans in Indonesia to get freshly made, craveable food with fast, friendly and convenient service closer to home. 

“Subway® offers delicious, better-for-you sandwich choices that cater to the growing trend of Indonesians looking for a more balanced and healthier diet,” said Anthony Cottan, President Director of PT Map Boga Adiperkasa Tbk. “The Subway® model of making every sandwich customized, in addition to its convenience and affordability, will attract many guests and position it for growth in Indonesia for many years to come.” 

The expansion into Indonesia marks the first step in Subway’s continuing plans to grow its presence in the Asia Pacific region. The brand’s restaurants and sales throughout the region, in countries such as South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Singapore, have seen significant success in recent years and Subway® expects similar results in Indonesia. 

Mountain Mike’s Plots Lone Star Expansion

Mountain Mike’s Pizza, is opening up new franchise  opportunities in Texas after signing a three-store deal with franchise industry veterans Hector Haget and Khris Tate of Jefes Pizza, LLC. to develop in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. As the saying goes, everything’s bigger in Texas, and residents of the Lone Star State now can look forward to the brand’s famous 20-inch Mountain-sized pizzas and toppings that could fill a ten-gallon hat at locations dotting Collin County, including McKinney and Frisco. Other single-and multi-unit deals in the surrounding area are in process with details to be announced soon.

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“Mountain Mike’s owes its success to some of the most reputable and talented franchisees in the business, and we are actively seeking entrepreneurs in the Dallas area and throughout Texas to join our franchise family during the most exciting time in the company’s history,” said Jim Metevier, President and Chief Operating Officer at Mountain Mike’s Pizza. “A family dining staple for more than four decades throughout California, we’ve recently been welcomed into new communities throughout the Western U.S. where our franchise partners are experiencing record-breaking success. The opportunity is ripe for passionate entrepreneurs and successful multi-brand franchise operators to reap the benefits of joining one of the nation’s leading family-friendly pizza concepts.”

Through the first six months of 2021, Mountain Mike’s has continued its record-breaking sales growth with same-store-sales (SSS) surging 16.4% and total system sales (TSS) jumping 25.9% over 2020.  AUVs for the brand now are close to $1.1M systemwide with the top 50 percent of locations averaging close to $1.3 million. Digital sales, which stood at 18.25% pre-pandemic, grew impressively to 40% as Q2 ended – fueled by an array of successful digital marketing initiatives. Currently developing in eight Western states, Mountain Mike’s opened six new restaurants in Q2 and 14 thus far for the year with expectations to have a total of 25 new locations open by the end of 2021. 

“One of the most interesting facts about Texas is while it has had the fastest-growing population in the U.S. over the past 10 years, its pizza capacity has had trouble keeping up. The number of pizza places per capita is among the lowest in the country. Yet, Texans absolutely love their pizza, so we couldn’t be more excited that now is the right time to introduce all that Mountain Mike’s Pizza has to offer to our friends in the Lone Star State,” added Chris Britt and Ed St. Geme, co-owners of the brand. “If we had to choose a partner from scratch to do it big and right in Texas, we could not have been blessed any more than having Hector and Kris lead the way given their success as Jersey Mike’s franchisees in the state.”

To build upon the brand’s success while satisfying consumer demand for higher-quality pizza and family-friendly dining options, Mountain Mike’s is extending opportunities to new franchise partners looking to diversify their franchise brand portfolios with a popular family pizza concept. With approximately 25 new Mountain Mike’s Pizza restaurants expected to open in 2021, the soon-to-be-over 250-unit franchised pizza brand is primed to continue expansion west of the Mississippi in states that have been identified as prime markets for the established, fast-growing brand.

Nékter Opens in Texas

Nékter Juice Bar with more than 170 U.S. locations, has opened its first two restaurants in the “Sun City” of El Paso, Texas. The first opened recently at West Towne Marketplace, and the second celebrated its grand opening at Zaragoza Grove on Saturday, August 21, with 16-ounce, fresh juices and Superfood Smoothies for just $1.00. Both restaurants are locally owned and operated by franchisees Maurcio and Linda Camillo, native El Pasoans.

Nekter El Paso Team

The Zaragoza Grove restaurant is also the first Nékter Juice Bar in the country to feature a walk-up window allowing for easy and convenient ordering and pick-up for its guests in “Sun City.” Nékter is currently piloting the program and will soon open more restaurants with walk-up windows in Chicago and Southern California.

“We love Nékter!” said Maurcio Camillo, who along with his wife Linda, was introduced to the brand while traveling in other parts of the country. “Unfortunately, El Paso was sorely lacking in a truly authentic juice bar experience, where ingredient integrity and real, fresh ingredients were at the root of the menu. So many other brands hide unnecessary processed ingredients, added sugars and fats, with bases like frozen yogurt instead of the delicious freshly made cashew milk that we use at Nékter Juice Bar. When you come to Nékter, you know that you are getting the real thing, something that will help boost immunity, energy and overall wellness.”

Another Broken Egg in Ohio

Another Broken Egg Cafe is expanding on August 30 to North Canton, Ohio by opening of its sixth location in the state. 

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The North Canton cafe will be owned and operated by Morning Chef, LLC. With locations spreading across Ohio, this new cafe will bring the same fresh and exciting menu items to North Canton. Opening in this popular town was a no brainer for the brand, which features southern-inspired menu items.

Another Broken Egg Cafe offers a Southern-inspired menu featuring traditional menu options like Lemon Blueberry Goat Cheese Pancakes, Crab Cake Benedict, and Shrimp N’ Grits; a seasonal menu which currently features items such as the Louisiana Creole Benedict and Bloody Molly; as well as an abundance of signature cocktails including the Spiked Spiced Rum Cold Brew, Pomegranate Mule, and Abe Famous Infused Mary™.

Brooklyn Dumpling Inks Multi-Unit Deal

Brooklyn Dumpling Shop  signed multi-unit franchise deal to make the brand’s first appearance in the Southern region of the United States. Franchisee Sam Cole closed on a deal to bring at least five units to the Dallas area, introducing the first Brooklyn Dumpling Shop to The Lone Star State.

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“We are excited to bring the Brooklyn Dumpling Shop to Dallas,” said Cole. “We look forward to sharing Brooklyn Dumpling Shop’s unique foods and flavors delivered in an efficient and innovative way.”

Brooklyn Dumpling Shop is on track to meet its target growth trajectory of 500 units within five years after a year of rapid growth since its inception in 2020. After the highly anticipated opening of the first Brooklyn Dumpling Shop in New York’s East Village earlier this year, the brand has signed new franchise deals for more than 34 units throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Texas and Florida and is exploring additional markets for expansion, such as Houston, Texas.

“We can’t wait to bring Brooklyn Dumpling Shop to the great state of Texas,” said Stratis Morfogen, owner of Brooklyn Dumpling Shop. “We’re seeing a ton of excitement about this on social media and look forward to working with the Cole family to share our unique concept with the Dallas community.”

“Brooklyn Dumpling Shop is booming with growth as the concept resonates with more and more customers in different regions,” said Dan Rowe, CEO of Fransmart, Brooklyn Dumpling Shop’s franchise development partner. “It’s an incomparable brand – the reimagination of the automat concept is enough to get people in the door, but the high-quality and uniqueness of the dumplings is what keeps customers coming back every time.”

Brooklyn Dumpling Shop is partnered with Fransmart, the industry-leading franchise development company behind household brands like Five Guys Burgers & Fries and The Halal Guys, as its exclusive franchising partner to grow the brand. The innovative automat concept is currently looking for experienced franchisees and qualified investors to introduce the concept to major media markets across the country. 

Noodles & Company Signs Area Development Deal

Noodles & Company entered into a multi-unit franchise and area development agreement with Carlos Hill, the President of Tsunami Enterprises, LLC. Four new Noodles & Company restaurants are planned for the El Paso & Las Cruces metropolitan area during the next three years, with the first scheduled to open its doors by the Fall of 2022.

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“We are thrilled to partner with Carlos and his team as we expand the Noodles’ brand in new territories,” said John Ramsay, vice president of franchise sales. “Our goal is to seek operators who share our brand values and who are passionate about meeting our guests’ needs, and we believe Carlos is an ideal partner. We are confident that the Noodles’ unique brand strengths and brand activation strategy will resonate in this new market and our team is ready to support Carlos as he opens these new restaurants.”

“I look forward to expanding Noodles & Company’s presence in West Texas and Southern New Mexico,” said Carlos Hill, owner of Tsunami Enterprises, LLC. “I’ve always been a fan of the brand and its impressive and unique offering of global flavors. The Noodles & Company brand appeals to a broad range of lifestyles, convenience, and dietary needs, and I believe there are many underserved fans in this area who will be ecstatic when our new restaurants open.”

Happy Joe’s Expanding

 Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream is continuing to propel rapid expansion efforts by bringing its renowned pizza and party paradise to the southwest.

Happy Joe’s Florida Franchisees

Happy Joe’s CEO Tom Sacco announced today that the family-centric concept has executed an area development agreement with Franchisee  Christina Tennant and family to grow the brand and open several new restaurants throughout Southwest Florida. 

“I started going to Happy Joe’s when I was two,” Christina Tennant said. “I remember spending every birthday and family celebration there; Happy Joe’s was always the go-to place for me from a very young age. I even worked my first job at Happy Joe’s. I always smile when I think about all the wonderful memories my family and I have had at Happy Joe’s. It truly is a magical place. So, there wasn’t really a need to sell me on the brand. However, I was even more encouraged to franchise with the brand after speaking with Tom and Happy Joe’s corporate staff. I was immediately drawn in by their love for Happy Joe’s and their enthusiasm and passion to grow the brand. We’re excited to join the Happy Joe’s team and can’t wait to bring it to Southwest Florida.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to have Christina and her family join the Happy Joe’s franchise family,” Sacco said. “They are the perfect duo to introduce Happy Joe’s to Florida. In addition to having extensive experience in the food industry, they have felt the spirit that is Happy Joe’s and are extremely passionate about our brand. We can’t wait to help guide them through this journey of bringing happy moments to Southwest Florida.”

Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh Targets Areas for Expansion

Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, a WOWorks brand, is looking to bring fresh, fast-casual Mediterranean food to Indiana by identifying Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville, South Bend, Valparaiso and Bloomington as the brand’s next area for growth. 

With one current location in Indianapolis, one at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend and another opening in Zionsville later this year, the Mediterranean restaurant franchise is looking for more franchise partners to bring the fast-casual healthy restaurant concept to key markets across Indiana that will serve as a hub for the brand’s Midwest expansion.

To fuel the planned growth in Indiana, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh is actively seeking qualified franchise partners, preferably individuals with business experience and/or franchise experience, and a passion for serving guests. Heading the brand’s growth in Indiana is Master Franchise Developer Lee Kleiner, who is actively recruiting investors to grow the Garbanzo presence in the state to 25 locations. Kleiner, who opened the state’s first restaurant in 2020, also several other franchises in the area. 

“As we continue to grow nationally, we are looking to penetrate markets where Millennial and GenZ consumers are pushing the demand for fast, nutrient-dense and flavorful food options,” said Eric Lavinder, Chief Development Officer for WOWorks. “Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh is the perfect fit to meet Hoosiers’ demand for healthy meals that can be customized to fit a number of dietary needs and lifestyles, such as vegetarian, vegan and dairy-free. We anticipate success in Indiana and can’t wait to grow.”

Already in 2021, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh has grown by 15 restaurant locations with more opening this year. As the franchise furthers development, it looks to diversify in more non-traditional retail presences, such as airports, universities, ghost kitchens, military bases and grocery stores. 

The total initial investment to open a Garbanzo restaurant ranges from $386,636 – $786,499. 

Ike’s Is Coming to Mile High City

Ike’s Love & Sandwiches, home to over 800 unique sandwiches (including meat, vegetarian, vegan, halal, and gluten-free), is coming to Mile High City. Located within the Central Park neighborhood, Ike’s first Denver location is opening this September under father-daughter franchise team Blair and Camille Woodfield. 

The 78th outpost for the innovative sandwich giant will open in A Line Square at 8300 E. 36th Avenue, Unit 130, Denver, CO.  Ike’s is looking for enthusiastic individuals with a passion for sandwiches to join the crew this fall. To learn more about positions, visit Ike’s applicant portal for crew members and team leaders. 

“It was easily the best sandwich I had ever tasted. Hands down the best sandwich product on the market,” said Camille Woodfield. “Additionally, the vibe and culture at Ike’s is extremely welcoming and unpretentious. It’s clear the concept is about more than just food.”

The Woodfields are excited about the brand’s potential in Colorado and are hoping for a future of expansion across the state.  Together, Ike’s Denver operators have 45+ years of business experience, namely in the restaurant and real estate development markets. Blair has sixteen years experience as a Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers franchisee.

Exploding onto the crowded San Francisco food scene in 2007 as a small sandwich shop under the name “Ike’s Place”, Ike’s Love & Sandwiches has been transforming the sandwich segment for over a decade.  An original since day one, the brand has been defined by innovative offerings and iconic flavors.  Dutch Crunch bread with Ike’s Dirty Sauce is a duo unlike any other.  Every location comes with exclusive sandwich offerings that are eclectically named as a tribute to local celebrities and icons.  With over 800 original sandwiches on the menu, including vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free styles, there is a sandwich for every tastebud at Ike’s.  Ike’s has mouthwatering locations across California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Utah, and now Colorado.

Twin Peaks in Latin America and Texas

 Twin Peaks is proving its commitment to international expansion with the opening of its second Mexico City restaurant. Located in one of the newest malls in the exclusive area of Polanco at Av. Ejercito Nacional 769 Int. R03 y R04 Col. Granada, CP 11520, Miguel Hidalgo. CDMX, México, the new 8,100-square-foot sports lodge features 70+ massive TVs so guests won’t miss a minute of any Club America or Cruz Azul game. It also features two patios that are perfect for guests looking to enjoy the fresh air while indulging in Twin Peaks’ made-from-scratch menu items paired with 29-degree beers or signature hand-crafted cocktails containing top-shelf liquors, premium mixers and fresh ingredients.

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“We’re so excited to introduce Twin Peaks’ ultimate sports viewing experience to a new part of Mexico City,” said Director of Twin Peaks México Marco Torres Martínez. “After debuting our first Twin Peaks in Mexico City last November and receiving an overwhelmingly positive response, we are confident our newest Twin Peaks will be a hit. We look forward to opening our doors and expanding further across Mexico City as we continue to establish Twin Peaks as a best-in-class international brand.”

After opening its doors in Lewisville in 2005, Twin Peaks’ lodges quickly gained traction in Texas markets, leading to more than 25 new locations in every major city across the Lone Star State. Along with its Texas popularity, Twin Peaks has grown into a global brand with more than 80 locations. Now, the Dallas-Fort Worth-based company is well-positioned for growth and is bringing its 29-degree beer and scratch-made menu to even more of the great state with new openings planned in Burleson, Grand Prairie and Amarillo, Texas.

The new lodges will feature Twin Peaks’ craveable, shareable made-from-scratch menu items, an in-house smoker, a bar stacked full of premium, rare bourbons and its renowned ice-cold 29-degree drafts on tap, including national and local favorites. Designed to cater to each unique market, Twin Peaks’ lodges are equipped with massive indoor and outdoor bars, large patios with fire pits, and oversized man caves, creating the ultimate space for sipping a unique bourbon poured over a crystal-clear ice ball.

“Since starting the brand over 16 years ago in Lewisville, Twin Peaks has developed a cultlike following of loyal fans in Texas,” said Twin Peaks CEO Joe Hummel. “After continued growth and success of our corporate and franchise restaurants over the years, we decided there’s no better time than now to drive further development and bring our best-in-class brand to more markets across our home state.”

Wahlburgers Wild

Wahlburgers and Bass Pro Shops will open Wahlburgers Wild location at Bass Pro Shops at The Pyramid  this summer. As the first Wahlburgers venue in Tennessee and first-ever inside a Bass Pro Shops location, Wahlburgers Wild embraces the magic of the great outdoors to provide a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

2015 GO Memphis Pyramid

The casual dining concept founded by brothers Mark, Donnie, and Executive Chef Paul Wahlberg will feature unique menu items that complement the wilderness lodge theme found inside Bass Pro Shops destination retail stores.

Emphasizing high-quality, delicious food, Chef Paul’s recipes stem from family favorite dishes that were a staple in his childhood, with some new added twists! Guests can expect a backcountry retreat when dining at Wahlburgers Wild with everything from their gator bites and venison chili to the bison burger and venison bratwurst. Guests can also enjoy frothy house-made shakes for dessert. Served in a rustic setting that celebrates the untamed beauty of nature, Wahlburgers Wild is a destination for fishing, boating, hunting, and camping enthusiasts or anyone looking to embark on a vibrant culinary adventure.

“We’re so excited to bring Wahlburgers Wild to Memphis and look forward to working with everyone at Bass Pro Shops to deliver an incredible experience to our guests.” said Chef Paul Wahlberg.

Envisioned by noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, who has been referred to as the Walt Disney of the outdoors, Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid is located inside a massive, transformed sports arena on the banks of the Mississippi River in Memphis, Tennessee. In addition to a vast assortment of outdoor gear, the Pyramid includes an “underwater” bowling alley, a wilderness hotel called Big Cypress Lodge, nearly 600,000 gallons of water features, a cypress swamp with 100-foot-tall trees, the interactive Ducks Unlimited Waterfowling Heritage Center, and a breathtaking glass-floored cantilevering observation deck at the top of the 32-story steel structure that offers one-of-a-kind views of downtown Memphis and the Mississippi River.

The 130-seat restaurant will occupy 2,900 square feet inside the Pyramid. The menu, available for both lunch and dinner, will also be available as a room service amenity for guests staying at Big Cypress Lodge, an outdoor-themed lodge also located in The Pyramid. In addition to room service, Wahlburgers Wild will be available for hotel catering events, and boast a private elevator directly to the lodge for guests. The restaurant will join Big Cypress Lodge’s three current over-the-top dining options, The Lookout, Fishbowl, and Mississippi Terrace.

“Wahlburgers Wild will continue to help set Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid apart as a world-class destination for everyone who loves the outdoors,” said Johnny Morris. “With a grand opening on track for later this summer, we couldn’t be more excited to share this incredible concept with our customers and guests.”

Oracle Cloud on the Menu for Burger King and Church’s Texas Chicken in Mexico

Corporativo GES operates more than 30 Burger King and Church’s Texas Chicken franchises in Mexico. With the pandemic putting a strain on restaurants, the fast-growing operator knew it needed to move to the cloud to improve the efficiency of its operations. Today, Oracle MICROS Simphony Point-of-Sale (POS) is helping Corporativo GES to remotely manage its entire business on just one system. With built-in restaurant data and analytics, the operator can make faster, more-informed decisions and is increasing diner satisfaction by improving the order and payment process, speeding counter and drive-thru service, and better managing its menu and customer promotions.

“We were making decisions in the dark; we needed better visibility into our business,” said Erik Moreno, manager, franchise operations, Corporativo GES. “A robust and scalable restaurant technology platform, like Oracle MICROS Simphony, that allows me to see and manage all my businesses from either my cellphone or computer was critical.”

Using MICROS Simphony’s analytics, Corporativo GES can immediately see where it can improve operations down to the individual franchise location. This includes a real-time view into its sales and product mix, popularity of menu items, average sales time, and the busiest times of day at each restaurant. This information allows Corporativo GES to better understand its diners and launch more effective promotions to foster customer loyalty.

“We felt that Oracle’s MICROS Simphony POS cloud solution was the best for our needs. To be able to complete all the upgrades remotely during a time when no one could travel was incredibly important to us and really shows the power of cloud,” said Moreno. “Since then, we’ve further realized the value of Oracle as a strategic partner, and for me, they are the best partner we have.”

Corporativo GES also chose Oracle NetSuite to streamline its accounting and inventory process and unify information from MICROS Simphony. With NetSuite, it will increase visibility and control of sales transactions, accurately forecast budgets across the organization and improve purchasing based on data and historical purchase trends from its customers.

“During the pandemic, Corporativo GES realized the critical need for a technological change to help keep its restaurants at the forefront of fast food industry in Mexico. It’s no longer just about understanding the end sales number, but how you got there, what locations and items are most profitable, and how to best serve an evolving customer base,” said Simon de Montfort Walker, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Food and Beverage. “The Corporativo GES team bet on Oracle to stay ahead of the curve and continue to grow and best serve customers in-store, in the drive-thru, and via online ordering. This new technology platform positions them well for continued success and to be able to navigate whatever comes next.”

Freebirds in Houston

Freebirds World Burrito will open the community of Kingwood in northeast Houston this September. This location will add to Freebirds’ 55 current locations in the Lone Star State, opening at 3112 W Lake Houston Pkwy, next to HEB.  

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Freebirds is looking to hire over 30 new employees, also known as Tribe members, at the new Kingwood restaurant. To learn more information and apply, visit Freebirds.com/careers.

Freebirds’ Kingwood will hold a public Grand Opening celebration with free samples and special opening promotions on a date to be announced soon.

This is the beginning of a major unit expansion for Freebirds, which just announced it will double its total number of locations over the next 5 years.  The main areas of expansion will be across Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, though the growth will see locations open across the state.  With a slated 20 percent growth rate year over year, Freebirds is strengthening its position as Texas’ second largest burrito chain.

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