MRM Franchise Feed: El Pollo Loco’s ‘Road to Authenticity” and Bubbleology Drives Brand Growth in U.S.

Modern Restaurant Management magazine’s Franchise Feed offers a glimpse at what’s new in the restaurant franchise environment. Send items of interest to Executive Editor Barbara Castiglia at

Keeping True to Roots

El Pollo Loco launched a “Road to Authenticity” creative campaign in partnership with new creative agency, Vitro. The campaign celebrates the company’s authentic Los Angeles roots.

“From the boulevards in the vibrant Latino heart of LA, where fire-grilled chicken is a culinary and cultural art form, El Pollo Loco is part of a proud and enduring heritage,” said Ed Valle, Chief Marketing Officer of El Pollo Loco. “Since first opening in LA in 1980, the people, places and practices of this city have inspired the heart and soul of our brand. With “Road to Authenticity,” Vitro helped create something truly special by capturing these inspirations in an authentic and heartfelt way and we’re thrilled for our fans and guests to see it.”

To develop the new video spots, Vitro partnered with director David Gelb whose work spans a variety of modern culinary masterpieces. The “Road to Authenticity” campaign will launch with traditional media, leveraging a mix of 30 and 15 second television spots that elevate El Pollo Loco’s brand story.

“There is no denying the immense influence that the vibrant personality and character of LA has had on El Pollo Loco, and it became clear to us our campaign needed to tell this hometown story,” said Tom Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of Vitro.  “We’re proud to debut “Road to Authenticity” which highlights the quality and authenticity of El Pollo Loco through a beautiful and enticing travelogue showcasing exactly what inspires everything they do and have done for over 30 years.”

El Pollo Loco’s new “Road to Authenticity” advertisements can be viewed here.

With more than 450 company-owned and franchised restaurants in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas and Utah, El Pollo Loco is expanding its presence in key markets through a combination of company and existing and new franchisee development. 

Chicken Salad Chick Celebrates Ninth Anniversary and Foundation Raises More Than $100,000

Chicken Salad Chick is celebrating its ninth birthday by serving customers one free scoop of chicken salad. On Jan. 26, guests can enjoy a little southern hospitality during the appropriately named event, Customer Appreciation Day. Each guest that visits a participating Chicken Salad Chick restaurant on Thursday, Jan. 26 will receive one free scoop of Classic Carol chicken salad*, one of the brand’s original and most popular chicken salad flavors.

“In honor of our ninth birthday, we really wanted to express our gratitude and share our love for chicken salad by serving up a free scoop for guests to enjoy at all 65 participating locations,” said Stacy Brown, Chicken Salad Chick founder. “As a company, we’ve experienced tremendous growth and none of this would be possible without the support of our amazing customers and guests.”

Stacy Brown
Stacy Brown

The Chicken Salad Chick concept, born in Auburn, Ala., was established in 2008 in the kitchen of founder, Stacy Brown. When Stacy discovered that the local county health department would not allow her to continue making and selling her delicious recipes out of her home kitchen, she overcame that obstacle by launching her first restaurant with the business expertise of her future husband and fellow founder, Kevin Brown. Together, they opened a small takeout restaurant, which quickly grew; the company now has more than 60 restaurants across the Southeast.

In other news, the Chicken Salad Chick Foundation (CSCF), the non-profit organization affiliated with Chicken Salad Chick, raised over $100,000 through its third annual Coupon Book fundraiser to provide 400,000 meals to hungry families across eight states. As part of the fundraiser, the CSCF partnered with 60 participating Chicken Salad Chick locations and their respective food-related charities to sell 22,000 Chicken Salad Chick coupon books in November and December, which can be redeemed over the course of the 2017 calendar year. 

“We couldn’t be more proud of the impact the CSCF has had on hungry families across the Southeast,” said Brown. “Over the past three years, the foundation has raised more than $250,000 for local food-related charities, providing the equivalent of 1 million meals. The continued success of this fundraiser is a true testament to the CSCF’s mission to feed the hungry, and we look forward to positively impacting the lives of those in need for years to come.”

For more information about the CSCF, click here


Wahlburgers Plans Asian Expansion

Wahlburgers, the restaurant brand founded by Chef Paul Wahlberg and celebrity brothers Mark and Donnie, will expand to Asia in 2017 through a joint venture with Cachet Hospitality Group (CHG). The first three restaurants are slated to open in HangzhouWuhan, and Shanghai, ChinaWahlburgers Logo

“We’re excited about this wonderful opportunity to grow in Asia,” said Wahlburgers CEO Rick Vanzura. “Having a savvy, financially strong partner is essential and we have a great partner in the Cachet Hospitality Group, which will bring an unprecedented level of service and strength to the Wahlburgers brand. Cachet is dedicated to family, community and, of course, bringing diverse groups of people together through great food – the very same values that drive Wahlburgers. Thanks to Cachet, we already have our first confirmed restaurant projects outside of North America, and we look forward to making history together.”

The Cachet Hospitality Group (CHG), an international hospitality branding and management company based in Hong Kong, is well known in the region for excellence and a growing focus on social responsibility. According to CEO Alexander Mirza, “This is an excellent time to enter the Asia market, especially China, where dramatic growth in US-style destination malls with increasing space committed to restaurants as mall owners see both traffic and income rise dramatically.”

“This combines perfectly with the explosive popularity of international restaurant brands in China’s malls and airports, opening the door to tremendous opportunity for Wahlburgers and our Asia Pacific joint venture,” said Mirza.  

World Packaging Center, an existing CHG developer, agreed to sign the first restaurant in HangzhouShanghai-based naked Hub has agreed to open 20 Wahlburgers in their office building complexes throughout Shanghaiand Hong KongThailand’s Big Ho Corporation will open 20 Wahlburgers in its franchise location of Big C Supercenter stores throughout northern Thailand. Wahlburgers Our Burger COMBO

A third partner, the Arjomand Group, a holding company with businesses based in the Middle East and Africa regions, includes diverse industries such as real estate and manufacturing, is an investor in CHG and will add financial expertise and strength to the expansion plans.

According to the joint venture, the objective of this expansion is to open 100 restaurants in China and the surrounding region over the next five years. With two strategic partnerships in place, Wahlburgers Asia Pacific is in a strong position to achieve its goal of opening in a variety of locations, including shopping centers, theme parks, residential and office developments and hotel and resort properties.

Growler USA Opens Flagship Pub

Craft beer is no stranger to Denver, and now there is a new spot in town that will offer more than 100 taps of local and regional brews, straight from the tap. Growler USA®, a franchise dedicated to American-made craft beverages, is open at 11405 East Briarwood Avenue, in the Arapahoe Lima Center in Centennial.15676227_588450394612890_4433964705441381252_o[1]

The Centennial pub will act as the company’s flagship pub, training center and test kitchen, serving as the model store prototype and testing ground for menu and concept development. The location offers draft selections from local breweries, including Chain Reaction, 38 State, Pikes Peak Brewery, Lost Highway, River North and Pug Ryan’s. In addition to craft beer, offerings include hard cider, wine, root beer, cold-pressed coffee and kombucha tea.

“The opening of our flagship pub marks a significant growth milestone for our brand, and we’re proud to be doing it right here in Denver. This location will set the pace for all future Growler USA pubs,” said Dan White, founder and CEO. “We look forward to working with the passionate brewers of our community and becoming the go-to spot for our friends and neighbors in the greater Denver area.”

Dan White
Dan White

The Centennial pub welcomes guests with rustic, reclaimed wood bar tops and eco-friendly bamboo tabletops. As a part of its commitment to provide a better craft beverage drinking experience, the pub will offer an expanded food program created to ensure flavors and aromas complement each beverage. Highlights include a Nitro BBQ Cheddar Bacon Burger, made with house-made Nitro BBQ sauce, Tillamook® cheddar and thick-cut pork belly bacon, and a Brewben®, with shaved corned beef, pilsner sauerkraut, aged Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing served on marble rye.

Growler USA currently has 10 locations throughout the country and is rapidly expanding in major markets across the U.S. Leading-edge technology that simplifies operations for franchisees is integrated into the Growler USA business model, with technology-driven programs to streamline beer monitoring operations.

“Our commitment to the independent brewers goes beyond just serving great beer, and is articulated in our ‘True to the Brew’philosophy that ensures each beverage is conditioned, held and dispensed as fresh and spirited as it was intended. This includes Cicerone® Certified Beer Server training for all servers and beer tenders,” White added.

Fazoli’s Signs New Franchise Agreements

Fazoli’s ended 2016 with the signing of 11 franchise agreements to develop a total of 25 new restaurants nationwide. In addition, the brand marked a record breaking 15 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth and opened five restaurants, most recently in Washington, Missouri and Bonaire, Georgia.Fazolis Logo

“It’s been an incredible year of growth for Fazoli’s as we signed more than double the number of franchise agreements in the last 12 months than in the previous year,” said Carl Howard, president and chief executive officer of Fazoli’s. “The brand’s success can be attributed to several factors, including 15 consecutive quarters of positive same-store sales, high average unit sales volume, as well as enhancements made to our menu and catering program, to name a few. From our unlimited breadsticks to warm table service, Fazoli’s provides both customers and franchisees a value second to none in the fast casual industry.”
As part of the brand refresh, last year, Fazoli’s began remodeling some of its locations with a new, contemporary look and feel. In addition, the company introduced an upgraded menu using premium ingredients, which has been well received by guests. 
To accelerate its national expansion efforts this year — which includes 16 planned openings in communities nationwide including Zionsville, Indiana; Snellville, Georgia; and Maysville and Hazard, Kentucky — Fazoli’s has launched a new franchise development incentive program available through June 30. New franchisees that sign an Area Development Agreement (ADA) for three or more traditional restaurants will receive a discount of $10,000 off of the initial $40,000 franchise fee. Franchisees that sign an ADA for three or more non-traditional locations, including gas and convenience stores, will receive a $5,000 discount off of the initial $20,000 franchise fee. For these agreements, franchise owners will receive reduced royalty fees for the first two years of operations. Furthermore, franchisees that sign an ADA agreement for three or more non-traditional units on college campuses, airports and casinos will receive a $5,000 discount off the initial $15,000 franchise fee. Fazoli’s is targeting new markets including Atlanta, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Knoxville, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and several other cities for expansion.
“At Fazoli’s, we are always seeking ways to advance our business model and, as we kick off 2017, we couldn’t be more excited about the many opportunities that lie ahead,” continued Howard.
This April, Fazoli’s is set to unveil a modern interior redesign of its restaurants featuring a Wi-Fi bar and a warm, friendly environment for its guests. The company plans to redesign a total of 15 restaurants by year’s end. Furthermore, later this year, the company will roll out an enhanced menu with more customizable options made with simple, honest ingredients to accommodate ever-changing consumer preferences. Fazoli’s franchisees are experiencing nearly three times the industry average growth rate with new franchised restaurants continually setting new systemwide records. There are nearly 220 restaurants in 25 states.
DineEquity Plans Global Expansion

DineEquity, Inc. inked four new multi-unit development agreements in the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America. These agreements will play an important role in the company’s plan to double international locations over the next five years.

Since the beginning of 2014, 80 new international restaurants have opened, resulting in the third consecutive year of record international growth. In addition to 80 new international openings, during that same timeframe DineEquity nearly tripled the international development pipeline to over 200 restaurant commitments. These combined international successes provide the foundation for DineEquity’s ability to double the international presence of its brands by 2021.

“We continue to see international expansion of our two brands as an important growth engine for DineEquity, with interest and enthusiasm coming from both new and existing franchisees,” said Julia Stewart, chairman and CEO, DineEquity, Inc. “These positive factors make us bullish about the potential to double our international footprint within five years.”

The IHOP brand expansion continues into the Asia Pacific region by bringing the originator of all-day breakfast to Thailand and India. A multi-unit franchise agreement with King of Pancakes Co., Ltd. calls for 10 locations to open in Thailand by 2021. King of Pancakes is an affiliate of King Food Group Company Limited, which through its affiliates, operates iconic and emerging restaurant brands throughout Thailand.  A multi-unit franchise agreement with Kwals Catering Private Ltd. – a subsidiary of Kwality Group – calls for 20 locations to open throughout multiple states of Northern and Southern India by 2025. Established in 1955, Kwality Group, through its affiliates, is a leading restaurant operator, caterer and franchisee of five other leading restaurant brands.

Applebee’s will extend its growth in the Middle East through a development agreement with Mohammed Fakhro that includes the opening of six locations in Bahrain and Oman by 2023.  Fakhro is an experienced restaurant operator and a franchisee for multiple leading brands; his organization has expertise in supply chain as the owner of a leading logistics and distribution company in Bahrain.

Applebee’s footprint in Latin America will also grow under an agreement for five new locations in Panama. The agreement with current IHOP franchisee Collins Restaurant Group calls for the locations to be built by 2021. Collins is an IHOP Restaurants franchisee with over 100 years of experience in developing and operating restaurants and hotels throughout Panama.

“In addition to adding new territories based on our strategic growth plan and our 360-degree brand evolution efforts, we continue to see strong interest in building new restaurants and remodeling existing locations from our international franchisees across both brands,” said Daniel del Olmo, president, international, DineEquity, Inc. “Nearly 80 percent of our international franchisees are developing new restaurants, which is an important indicator of engagement as a result of our collaborative effort to optimally grow our footprint. Substantially all of our 200-plus restaurant obligations will be developed within our three primary targeted growth areas: the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America. Our desire is to continue to expand with our existing franchisees, while exploring additional opportunities as appropriate.”

In 2014 DineEquity consolidated both international brand teams into one business unit and created a new strategic plan based on franchisee feedback and the largest international consumer survey in the company’s history. This research led to a 360-degree brand evolution, resulting in the implementation of new brand positioning, marketing, food and beverage choices, plate presentation, restaurant design and an improved service culture, all of which have been embraced by franchisees.

DineEquity’s global presence, through its IHOP and Applebee’s brands, includes all 50 United States, three U.S. territories and 17 other nations. While the international development pipeline is substantive, opportunities still exist for franchises with significant restaurant operations experience, procurement expertise and the capability to introduce brands to new markets. 

Johnny Rockets in NYC

Johnny Rockets, the global restaurant chain  opened its newest restaurant in one of New York City’s busiest areas around Penn Station, Madison Square Garden and the 34th Street Subway Station.  The grand opening will benefit a local New York City Boys & Girls Club. Johnny Rockets is donating $5,000 to the organization to support its after-school programming.

The new Johnny Rockets is open early every day for breakfast to meet the needs of commuters on their way to work and will be serving late into the night for those looking for a great burger, shake and much more after an evening out.

Celebrating its 30th Anniversary, the brand has always been known for its 50s diner look complete with jukeboxes, dancing servers dressed in the decade’s familiar soda fountain uniforms and its original burgers and shakes. The new restaurant in New York City has a new design with a modern look that the brand refers to as the new Johnny Rockets Diner 2.0. In addition, Johnny Rockets’ logo has a dramatically different look and the restaurant team uniforms are also new.  Servers and managers are now wearing black or dark denim jeans with white oxford shirts for servers and dark shirts for managers. Waist aprons worn by servers are denim striped with front pockets and full bib aprons are worn by cooks.

“New York is an important market for Johnny Rockets.  Our goal is to expand in the New York area in the very near future,” said John Maguire, Johnny Rockets Chief Executive Officer and President.  “Our new restaurant at One Penn Plaza is an ideal location in the heart of a busy shopping, entertainment and transportation hub. We hope to find more locations that have similar characteristics.  The better burger category has become extremely competitive in New York City and around the country.  Johnny Rockets was serving fresh, never frozen, 100% beef burgers made-to-order, long before many other burger restaurants came on the scene.  Our loyal fans know this about Johnny Rockets and now we are winning over a new generation of fans with our newly designed restaurants.”

John Maguire commented, “Boys & Girls Clubs of America works tirelessly to support young people and provide programs and opportunities to enrich their lives.  All of us at Johnny Rockets are proud to support this wonderful organization and we look forward to an ongoing relationship with Boys & Girls Clubs.  It is all part of our commitment to giving back to the communities in which serve.” 

Founded in 1986, Johnny Rockets operates more than 380 franchise and corporate locations in 30 countries around the world. 

Hall Named President at O’Charley’s

American Blue Ribbon Holdings, LLC, an owner, operator and franchisor of restaurant concepts throughout the United States, appointed William E. (Eddie) Hall as President of its O’Charley’s restaurant group.

William E. (Eddie) Hall

Hall, 61, has already assumed his new responsibilities focusing on operational execution of O’Charley’s restaurants located across 20 states. Earlier in his career (1990 – 2004), as O’Charley’s President/Executive Vice President of Operations, Hall led a management team and support staff in the successful expansion of O’Charley’s from 65 to 216 restaurants, generating $570 million of annual revenue.

“I am extremely pleased to return to O’Charley’s where I earlier spent 14 years of my career, and again have the exciting opportunity to work closely with an outstanding team in Nashville and throughout the O’Charley’s restaurant base,” Hall said. “Our goal is to continue providing our guests with great quality food and O’Charley’s hospitality.”

Prior to rejoining O’Charley’s as President, Hall served in various management posts in the restaurant industry. Hall attended The University of Tennessee majoring in Business Administration.

O’Charley’s was formed in 1971 and presently operates more than 200 casual dining restaurants. O’Charley’s restaurants offer classic American food with a focus on fresh ingredients and great hospitality. The company has its headquarters in Nashville, TN.

Bubbleology Grows

Bubbleology, the London-based bubble tea franchise chain, is driving brand growth in the United States, inviting Yelp Elite Squad members to taste their many flavors at Bloomingdale’s hosted fairs near their Atlanta location.

As part their grand opening in Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, Bloomingdale’s invited Bubbleology to bring their unique take on the Taiwanese favorite via tea tastings and prizes, including a yearlong supply of bubble tea. 

“Since our inception more than five years ago, we’ve strived to bring our customers a superior alternative to their current beverage choices,” said Carly Clark, marketing manager at Bubbleology. “For Bubbleology, the opportunity presented by Bloomingdale’s to help introduce our brand to the U.S audience searching for that alternative is invaluable.”

Bubbleology’s Bloomingdale’s relationship comes in addition to long-standing United Kingdom partnerships with Topshop,  Harvey Nichols  and Pernod Ricard.

Cambridge Franchise Acquires 10 Burger Kings

Cambridge Franchise Holdings  acquired 10 Burger King restaurants in Tennessee from the Wilmoth Family.

“We are very excited to have the Wilmoth portfolio of restaurants join our organization. We will continue the example of great operations that the Wilmoths have instilled in their team members,” said Ray Meeks, CEO of Cambridge Franchise Holdings. Added Tish Short, a member of the Wilmoth family, “My family and I are excited to begin our next chapter and know that our restaurants are left in very capable hands. We have very much enjoyed working with the Cambridge Franchise team and wish them the best of luck.”

This is the fourth acquisition that Cambridge Franchise Holdings has completed in 2016 and the eighth  since 2014. Cambridge Franchise Holdings is one of Burger King’s® largest and fastest growing franchisees.

Cambridge Franchise Holdings was formed in 2014 by Matt Perelman and Alex Sloane in partnership with Ray Meeks, a 30-year Burger King® franchisee and seasoned restaurant operator. The Company is led by Chief Executive Officer Ray Meeks, Chief Operating Officer Tim Furr, Chief Financial Officer Kevin Whitton, Chief Development Officer Joey Stewart and VP of Operations Chris Schniepp. Cambridge Franchise Holdings owns and operates 115 Restaurants, 5 Convenience Stores and real estate in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. 

Crane Named CEO At RAVE

RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has named Scott Crane as Chief Executive Officer.  Crane succeeds Interim CEO Clinton J. Coleman, who will remain in his role as a member of the Board, where he has served since 2007.

“Scott is dynamic leader with a proven track record of growth with success,” said Mark Schwarz, Chairman of RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc.  “An entrepreneur at an early age, Scott’s restaurant industry focus has led to a succession of managerial roles of progressively greater responsibility and achievement throughout his career, including most recently growing the Smashburger concept from scratch to a thriving, profitable business that led to its highly successful transaction with Jollibee Foods Corporation last year at an enterprise valuation of $335 million.  Scott is an exceptional leader who will contribute greatly to the culture, growth and success at Rave.  I am confident his expertise and keen understanding of the fast casual category will be a true asset to the continuing development of our Company.”

Scott Crane
Scott Crane

Crane most recently served as President and Chief Executive Officer of  Smashburger, where he led its development from a two-unit start up concept in 2007 to a global company with more than 330 corporate and franchise locations operating in 35 states and seven countries with annual sales in excess of $350 million at the time of his departure in 2016.  Previously, Mr. Crane was at Fugate Enterprises, Inc., one of the largest Pizza Hut franchisees in the country, where he was responsible for the operation of 210 Pizza Hut units, in addition to Taco Bell, Wing Street, Sonic and Blockbuster Video locations.

“Under Scott’s leadership, Smashburger has been broadly credited as being the leading fast casual brand in ‘better burger’ segment, receiving numerous business and consumer accolades including Forbes No. 1 Most Promising Company, Inc. 500 list of fastest growing private companies, Technomic’s #1 Social Media Brand and numerous “top” franchisor awards,”  said Clinton Coleman, Board Member and Interim CEO at RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc.  “To support the Company’s continued growth under Scott’s leadership, RAVE recently announced a $3 million capital raise by way of a registered rights offering, which is projected to be completed in February 2017.” 

“I am excited to be joining RAVE at this particular time and look forward to leading it into the next phase of success and delivering results for its guests, employees, franchisees and all stakeholders,”  said Crane.  “I look forward to working with the Rave team as we unlock the enormous potential of the Pie Five concept and continue to introduce consumers to the new and growing category of fast casual pizza.  I also have tremendous respect for and am excited to lead Pizza Inn, a brand rich with tradition that has served more than three generations of American families.” 

Founded in 1958, Dallas-based RAVE Restaurant Group owns, operates and franchises more than 300 Pie Five Pizza Co. and Pizza Inn restaurants domestically and internationally. 

Hazem Ouf Joins Logan’s Roadhouse as CEO and Partner

Logan’s Roadhouse named 35-year industry veteran Hazem Ouf CEO and Partner. In his new role, Ouf will also serve as a member of the Logan’s Roadhouse Board of Directors.

Ouf brings broad and extensive restaurant experience to the leading casual dining steakhouse. He has been President & CEO of numerous national restaurant chains, including most recently American Blue Ribbon Holdings (ABRH).

“Not only does Hazem have broad and extensive restaurant industry experience, but his exceptional leadership qualities, unique skill set and proven track record of success make him the perfect fit for this position,” said Philip Berney, Logan’s Board Chairman and co-CEO of Kelso & Company. “Hazem has demonstrated proven leadership in brand revitalization, reversing sales declines and significantly improving financial performance. He’s done all of this while developing great cultures and exceptional operating management teams.”

Berney pointed to Ouf’s significant experience with successful mergers and acquisitions in the restaurant industry and his turnaround acumen, which he said should prove advantageous in growing the business and enhancing value for its stakeholders group. “It will take a unique leader with the right skill set to get us where we all want Logan’s Roadhouse to be now and in the future. We’re pleased to have Hazem join us as CEO and Partner and look forward to his contributions,” Berney added.

Hazem Ouf
Hazem Ouf

“I’m delighted to form this new partnership with the stakeholders group and to lead this iconic brand forward,” said Hazem Ouf. “Our goal is to position Logan’s Roadhouse to regain its leadership role in the category and to successfully provide growth opportunities for all of our team members while maximizing value for all of our stakeholders. I’m eager to start making a positive contribution and am excited about the future possibilities to use Logan’s Roadhouse as a platform for future growth and acquisitions.”

Ouf began his career in London, England with the Rank Organization. Over the past 35 years, he has directed, managed and developed a wide range of full-service restaurant concepts, including ABRH from March 2009 to September 2016. At ABRH (O’Charley’s, 99 Restaurant and Pub, Village Inn, Bakers Square, Legendary Baking), he grew the company’s revenue exponentially through internal growth and acquisitions as it became the eighth largest full-service restaurant group in the country. He is the recipient of numerous industry awards, including Top Business Leaders 2013, and he was recently nominated by his peers to the Nation’s Restaurant News 2015 list of most influential power players.

Logan’s has 221 corporate and franchise restaurants in 23 states.

Sub Zero Seeks Franchisees

Sub Zero, the nation’s first liquid nitrogen ice cream franchise, plans to significantly expand its presence in greater Tampa over the next six years, with the goal of opening at least 10 new franchised locations. The brand is currently seeking franchise partners to introduce the concept to the market.

Sub Zero area developer Doug Shenk has identified Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and surrounding areas for franchise expansion due to the brand’s four successful stores on Florida’s southwest Gulf Coast. Additional factors include the region’s dense population, infrastructure and real estate primed for new small businesses.subzeroicecream

“My franchise partners and I have experienced great success with the Sub Zero brand in our stores along the Gulf Coast and believe the concept lends itself well to Tampa and surrounding communities,” said Shenk. “Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties’ real estate are ready for development and there’s a demand for nitrogen ice cream since the population has discovered Sub Zero science presentations and personalized catering services.”

Shenk is a former civil engineer and was drawn to the Sub Zero franchise opportunity due to the concept’s science connection. Since investing four years ago, Shenk established Sub Zero in southwest Florida, operating two locations in Siesta Key and Sarasota. He’s an active business owner within the community who is recognized for providing customized catering services, becoming an approved exploration provider for the Sarasota County School District, and being a certified Sarasota County Green Business Partner. As an area developer, Shenk works to share Sub Zero’s unique concept with more regions and assists others in pursuing franchise ownership. Currently, he supports franchise owners in Naples and Fort Myers.

Sub Zero currently has more than 50 domestic stores, as well as locations in China and the United Arab Emirates. The company plans to open 50 additional stores over the next 18 months. The company is seeking franchise partners to develop locations across the U.S. The total initial investment for a Sub Zero ranges from $176,000 to $293,000. 

Punch Bowl Social To Open in Atlanta

Punch Bowl Social will open a 27,000 square-foot restaurant, bar and entertainment concept in The Battery Atlanta inSeptember 2017. Punch Bowl Social has made a name for itself with its remarkably balanced execution of the eat, drink, play or “eatertainment” concept, pairing a Chef Hugh Acheson designed, southern inspired scratch-made menu and craft beverage program with “old-school” social activities and vintage video games.

The move strategically positions Punch Bowl Social in the heart of the Metro Atlanta’s newest lifestyle destination and adjacent to SunTrust Park, the new  home of the Atlanta Braves. The two-storyAtlanta property will include eight bowling lanes, one bocce court, three private karaoke rooms, a custom built 360 degree bar and various lounging and gathering spots – for groups both large and small – housed in an eclectic space melding mountain lodge, Victorian and modern industrial design elements. A 2,200-square-foot, rooftop patio will round out the offerings, delivering incredible views of the surrounding area.

Hugh Acheson, Culinary Partner, Punch Bowl Social
Hugh Acheson, Culinary Partner, Punch Bowl Social

Punch Bowl Social founder & CEO Robert Thompson noted his enthusiasm for the Atlanta expansion with a nod to the hometown team. “The Atlanta Braves have one of the most impressive histories in Major League Baseball,” he said. “We’re obviously thrilled to count them among our new neighbors and have no doubt that The Battery Atlanta, with its promise of an elevated live, work, play environment and game day excitement, will quickly become one of the most popular destinations.”

Punch Bowl Social  boasts properties in eight other cities with more scheduled to open over the next two years.

“The Battery Atlanta will bring a new standard of living to the Atlanta market,” said Mike Plant, Atlanta Braves president, development. “To support this vision, it was critical that we seek out partner tenants capable of delivering exceptional experiences to a wide audience. We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Punch Bowl Social to the neighborhood.”

Punch Bowl Social first opened its doors in Denver in 2012 and now includes properties in AustinClevelandDetroitIndianapolisMinneapolisPortland, Ore; and Schaumburg, IL. Other soon-to-open locations include Arlington, VABrooklynChicagoRancho Cucamonga, CASacramentoSan Diego andWashington D.C. A second Denver location, where the company is headquartered, is also in the works.