Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill to expand outside home state

Denver-based Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill is expanding outside of its home state for the first time since the chain's launch in 2007.

Through an agreement with Texas-based franchisee Blue Jean Food Group (BJFG), up to 15 new units will open throughout the San Antonio and Austin, areas, with the first location slated to open in San Antonio in late summer 2012.

BJFG is a family-owned and operated restaurant group that owns the full service seafood restaurant Pelican’s Landing in Port Aransas, Texas, and previously was involved in the Big Boy concept, also in Texas.

The deal marks the first of several new markets in which Garbanzo is looking to expand, said founder Alon Mor. Other markets include Washington, D.C., Baltimore, California, Arizona, Nebraska and New York.

By the end of 2012, the company will have six additional open franchised locations and will look to add another 20-25 combined corporate- and franchise-owned units by the end of 2013, Mor said. Currently, there are 14 restaurants in the Garbanzo system.

Since 2007, the executive team has been working on putting the right people and systems in place to foster growth. Training materials are available online and operational procedures have been designed to support large-unit growth.

"When franchisees come into the system, they can't believe we just have a few restaurants," Mor said. "But, we're here for the long haul."

Garbanzo's growth was recently supported by a partnership with Wellesley, Mass.-based private equity firm Gemini Investors. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, the funding will enable further market penetration outside of Colorado.

“Expanding the concept beyond the borders of Colorado is a major landmark in the history of Garbanzo,” said Bob Bafundo, Garbanzo director of franchise development and operations. “Our brand has received consistent interest from experienced franchisees since inception in 2007, and we have been very fortunate to sign deals with numerous groups across the country.  We only see that interest continuing to grow as more and more companies recognize the demand and enthusiasm for fast casual Mediterranean in their areas.”

Read more about franchising and growth.

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