Despite the challenging economy, several chain restaurant concepts continue to ink new development agreements and expand their presence into new markets. And, in this week's chain operating report, one iconic concept makes history.
Del Taco inked a development agreement that will bring the chain to Alabama and Northern Florida. Larry Blumberg & Associates, a hospitality operator based in Dothan, Ala., agreed to open 20 units in the region. Larry Blumberg & Associates operates 68 hotels in 11 states, representing the Marriott and Hilton brands. The first Del Taco location is scheduled to open in Dothan in early 2013.
Dickey's Barbeque Pit opened locations in Jacksonville, Fla. and Lodi, Calif.
Dunkin' Donuts announced plans to add two more locations in the Cincinnati market. Existing franchisees Rupal Kadakia, Kamlesh Shakrani and Hiren Pandhi plan to open their first restaurant in 2014 and the second the following year.
Caribou Coffee Company, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBOU) opened a coffee house location in Oak Brook Terrace, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. This comes on the heels of Caribou's announcing its intention to expand the chain's reach in the region by opening locations in Jewell-Osco, a Chicago-area grocery chain.
Breakfast and lunch concept First Watch opened a location in Lexington, Ky. The chain now has three locations in Kentucky.
Marco's Pizza entered the Illinois market with the opening of a location in Wheeling. The restaurant now has 300 locations system wide.
Later this month, Red Mango will open a location at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md., a world-renowned medical research center. The location will open as part of a master license agreement with the Eurest Division of The Compass Group of North America, the contract foodservice provider that operates dining services on the NIH campus.
Romano's Macaroni Grill has agreed to purchase four locations from franchisee Waterloo Restaurant Ventures, Inc. Three of the restaurants are located in the Bay Area of San Francisco, while the fourth is in the Seattle area. With the completion of this acquisition, Romano's Macaroni Grill's parent company will own and operate 186 locations in the United States. Waterloo Restaurant Ventures, Inc. filed for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. The acquisition by Romano's Macaroni Grill originated in public auction. Closing is anticipated to occur at the end of September 2012.
The site of the first Waffle House restaurant became a historic site, as proclaimed by the Georgia Historical Society. On Saturday, September 8, 2012, a Georgia historical marker will be unveiled at the first Waffle House restaurant in Avondale Estates, Ga., which is now a museum dedicated to the Southern staple.