Salsarita's, the national 80-unit Fresh Mexican Cantina chain, is opening 10 locations throughout Mississippi over the next five years. Area developer J.C. Clark, who was a leading franchisee for McAlister's Deli when current Salsarita's CEO Phil Friedman owned the company, will lead the expansion.

Clark, who worked with Friedman at McAlister's for more than 12 years before partnering with Salsarita's, said Friedman's business expertise combined with the strong market potential of Salsarita's in the fast casual sector made the development agreement a winning opportunity.

"As an experienced franchise developer, I was drawn to Salsarita's not only because of my strong working relationship with Phil, but also because of the franchise's tremendous future potential," Clark said. "Salsarita's is a category leader that is poised for strong growth nationwide, and I am eager to help the brand grow in my home market of Mississippi and beyond."

Salsarita's has not yet secured any definite sites; Clark is focusing on northern Mississippi including Tupelo, Oxford, and the Olive Branch/Southaven area. Moving forward, Clark said he also plans to expand across central and southern Mississippi.

"I'm thrilled to bring J.C. onboard as the first of many strong future franchise developers throughout the U.S.,"  Friedman said. "J.C. has proven success as a franchise developer, and we are confident that his expertise will greatly enhance Salsarita's national expansion."

Giving is getting
The chain is launching a special gift card program called, "Giving is Getting," for the 2012 holiday season. Between now and Dec. 31, customers who purchase $25 or more in Salsarita's gift cards will earn a $5 rewards certificate. Certificates can be redeemed anytime from Jan. 2-31, 2013, and are valid for all food items and non-alcoholic beverages. In addition, guests who like the brand's Facebook page now through Dec. 31 will receive a free order of house-made chips and salsa.

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