What's happening the world of franchise restaurant sales? The media reports pouring in show no signs of interest in franchise restaurants slowing down. If anything, the restaurant brokers see an uptick in activity. Here's some of the latest deals we've been tracking in the media.
The Hala Guys are heating up on their Middle Eastern cuisine concept and we see deals happening with increasing frequency for this concept. Franchise Times reported that AJ Ahmad, who grew up in Abu Dhabi, UAE, has opened the first of 15 Arizona The Hala Guys in Tempe. He plans to add three to four stores in the market.
Mexican cuisine remains on the mind of many in the franchise restaurant marketplace. We're seeing multiple deals announced including:
- The 10th El Pollo Loco, owned and operated by franchisees Anil Yadav and Atour Eyvazian of AA Pollo Inc., has opened in Spring, Texas. The 2,960 square foot restaurant is the second on to open in the market.
- Del Taco signed a multi-unit franchise development agreement with experienced restaurateur Tom Getz. He plans is to open the first of seven units in the broader Chattanooga area by 2019. Locations are planned throughout Hamilton and Bradley counties in Tennessee, as well as expansion into several Georgia counties.
- Five Tacos 4 Life franchises are opening in the Dallas, Texas, area, the first in the region for the fast-casual taco restaurant company. The development is being led by the former president of CiCi's and Nothing Bundt Cakes, Craig Moore.
- This one's not a franchise restaurant opening but it is noteworthy as Atlanta chef, restaurateur, speaker and cookbook author Kevin Gillespie is opened Communion Cantina, a Mexican-inspired beer garden and eatery behind his popular Revival restaurant in Decatur on Cinco de Mayo. The new store will serve tacos, West Coast, Mexican, domestic and local beers and margaritas.
What's going on with Smoothies and Juice Bars? The restaurant brokers see a lot of activity in these concepts led by some stellar results by Smoothie King who is on fire with the highest number of franchisees ever inked for a single month for March of this year. Here's everything we read about recently for franchise sales of smoothie and juice concepts.
- Willie Smith, of EON Brands Inc., a former United States Marine, added a second Juice It Up! to his portfolio. This location is in the city of Temecula in Southern California.
- Smoothie King is stirring up the market as well as the Smoothies. In the first quarter of 2017 they opened 28 new stores in 15 states and signed 34 franchise and development agreements for 48 new stores. Their plan for 2017 is an aggressive one with a goal to open 125 new stores in 2017, 25 percent more than last year.
- Not to be outdone, Tropical Smoothie Café is also growing. Craig and Dianne LeMieux, area developers for the Colorado region, are spearheading Tropical Smoothie Cafe's expansion throughout the Centennial State. Cities targeted will be Colorado Springs, Denver and Centennial. In addition to their development efforts in Colorado, the husband and wife team are also Tropical Smoothie area developers in Michigan and Ohio. They currently have a total of 58 open locations throughout their markets, with an additional 39 cafes in development.
- It's not just Smoothies showing strong growth. Dunkin Donuts is also expanding by way of their existing franchisees and new ones. Dunkin' Donuts signed a development agreement with existing franchise group Maruti Donuts, LLC to develop six new units in Evansville, Indiana, including one multi-brand location with Baskin Robbins. The group has more than 20 years of experience as a Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin Robbins franchisee and currently owns 12 multi-brand locations operated collectively with family members.
- In Louisiana, new franchise group and quick-service veteran SWLA Delights-led by brothers Gul and Vick Awan--signed a four-unit Dunkin' deal (including one multi-brand restaurant with Baskin Robbins) for the Lake Charles area. The brothers have more than 20 years of combined experience operating QSR concepts and gas and convenience store locations throughout Lake Charles and Lafeyette.
- Dunkin' Donuts has signed multi-unit store development agreements in North Carolina with two franchise groups, including a new franchisee, HARA Foodservice Group, LLC, who will develop four restaurants the Charlotte area, within Hickory, Lenoir, Marion and Morganton.
Burgers continue to grow though we have seen some slow down overall in this category. Nonetheless, both Smashburger and Bojangles announced recent deals.
- QSR International, the master franchisee of Smashburger for Central America, the Caribbean, and parts of South America has opened in Panama. This is the second of five restaurants committed to open in Panama over the next 30 months. This unit is located within the Magic Zone in Albrook Mall in Panama City, one of the largest shopping centers in Central America. Panama is the third country in the Central American region in which the group has opened Smashburger restaurants.
- Bojangles' has signed a multi-unit development to open four new Bojangles' restaurants over the next four years. Potential locations include Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach, Virginia. The agreement is with VABO Inc., an ownership group currently owns and operates several Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries in South Carolina and Georgia. Bojangles’, Inc. also announced a multi-unit development agreement with new franchisee MSR Restaurants, LLC of Mitchellville, Maryland.
It's interesting to see that latest group allowed to own both Bojangles -- fast food featuring burgers and fries along with the Highway 55 concept.
Other deals the restaurant brokers saw announced this month include:
- Huey Magoo's Chicken Tenders opened the latest location in Orlando run by franchisees Al Dhanani and Amir Dhanji, who also operate the Oviedo location and the soon to open Gardens on Millenia location.
- The Greene Turtle welcomes its 47th location with franchisees Pranav Desai, Jiger Patel and Rajan Mahadevia, doing business as The Integritty Group. Their new restaurant is located in North Wales, Pennsylvania. They also plan to open additional locations in Montgomery, Bucks, Lehigh and Northampton Counties.
- Wetzel's Pretzels has opened its newest location at Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the So Cal legendary tennis complex.
- HuHot Mongolian Grills, opened its 22nd location April 13 in Lawrence, Kansas. FRC Group, the largest franchisee of the concept says more openings are scheduled for 2017, including Champaign, Illinois, and Shawnee, Kansas. Bill Trevvorow, HuHot's newest franchisee and a current Subway multi-unit 'zee, is preparing to open his first HuHot in Lake Delton near the Wisconsin Dells tourism area, and HuHot has six additional openings planned for 2017.
- Willie Jewell's Old School Bar-B-Q, are opening their third location in Georgia, this time in Marietta. Willie Jewell's also has multi-unit deals signed with Chip and Amanda Evans for locations in Tallahassee, Florida, and with Black Diamond Capital, LLC to develop restaurants in Tampa, Florida. Based in Jacksonville, Willie Jewell's is the fast-casual spinoff of the Bono's Pit Bar-B-Q concept.
- Georgia-based Amici Italian Café has awarded a 20-unit franchise deal to Stonemont Financial Group, a private investment firm headquartered in Atlanta. Stonemont will open new Amici restaurants across North and South Carolina with the first location adjacent to the campus of Clemson University. It will open in the fall of 2017. In addition to the new 20-unit deal with Stonemont, Amici is building a newer location in Madison, Ga., where the restaurant group is headquartered and will open a corporate location in Gainesville. Two other new franchise locations in Macon and Augusta are also in the works.
- Cauldron Ice Cream is opening in Glendale, California. Jack Liu is the franchisee opening this location. He has signed a multi-unit deal with the Santa Ana-based ice cream shop company. The first of Liu's locations is expected to open in July.
- Native Grill & Wings announced its first Massachusetts location opening in Oxford in April as part of a multi-unit agreement. Franchisee Andy Colby of ANCM Group Inc., has signed for two to three total units in the Boston market, to be developed over the next three years.
- Primal Kitchen Restaurants will open its first franchise location in May in Granger, Indiana, part of a three-unit deal with franchisees Tom and Tara Olson for the South Bend, Indiana, area. The health-focused, fast-casual concept also has multi-unit deals signed for the Santa Cruz, California, area as well as three units in the Pacific Northwest.
Overall, while the restaurant brokers continue to hear rumbling of softening sales, particularly in the QSR industry and despite a very crowded marketplace, it appears the appetite for new franchise restaurant sales shows no sign of slowing. Restaurant Brokers Eric and Robin Gagnon say of the trend, "We continue to see Franchise Restaurant Sales Boom despite QSR sales softening. In our opinion, this is indicative, for new concepts of everyone chasing the "next big thing" while multi-unit owners return to the well on concepts already paying out for them."
Interested in seeing what the restaurant brokers have for sale? Check out our restaurant for sale listings online.