Panera Bread Company acquired 32 of its franchise-operated bakery-cafes and the development rights for select markets in Illinois and Minnesota for approximately $36 million in cash and debt. The company also signed an agreement with Dennis and Shane Hitzeman, Tom McDonald, and David Babbush to develop 12 locations in northern Orange County, Calif. The group has also acquired the formerly company-owned unit in Fullerton, Calif.
Noble Roman’s Inc., franchisor of dual-branded concepts Noble Roman’s Pizza and Tuscano’s Italian Subs, signed three area development agreements for several California counties. During the next seven years, 60 units with be developed in Los Angeles County, and 45 restaurants will be built in Orange County. A third agreement calls for 34 units in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Fresno counties during the next five years. Sixty units are expected to be built in San Diego County during the next six years.
Dinner by Design, a meal assembly company, signed an agreement with franchisees in both Canada and Hawaii. Canadian business executives Phyllis Lemieux, Paul Callingham, and Alain Lemieux, plan to open 24 units in the province of Ontario during the next two years, the first of which will likely be in the Ottawa area. Judith Hartman plans to open at least three units in Hawaii.
Knockouts Haircuts for Men awarded development rights for Indiana to Alan and Marena Boyton, and Bing and Winnie Yeo will develop units in four New England states. Both couples will begin opening salons in late 2007.
Noble Investment Group will acquire six AmeriSuites hotels and convert the units into the new Hyatt Place brand by the end of the year. The company also completed the conversion of the Sonoma County, Calif. Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel and Spa, which it acquired in March.
Genghis Grill Franchise Concepts LP signed a multi-unit agreement with Neel LLC to develop new units of its fast-casual Mongolian stir-fry concept in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, N.M.
Franchise Development Network Inc. signed an agreement with Blue Moon Franchises LLC to help the company begin franchising its Blue Moon Mexican Café concept.
Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. will buy nine of its Las Vegas franchises from franchisee Bill Welter for $26 million.
Brazil Fast Food Corp. will take control of operations for all Brazilian company-owned KFC restaurants. Under the franchise agreement with KFC’s parent company, YUM! Brands, Brazil Fast Food Corp. will operate the four existing Rio de Janeiro units as franchises, and will expand the brand throughout the country.
Pizza Inn Inc. signed agreements with three new franchisees. Viren and Mina Patel will open a unit in Spartanburg, S.C. by the fall. Aaron and Deena Tran plan to open a location in Plano, Texas this summer. Ownership of the restaurant in Lindale, Texas will transfer to Nathan Crouch.
Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Inc. signed an agreement with Mahendar Kumar for three new restaurants in Georgia during the next five years. The locations will be in Fulton and DeKalb counties.
Pat Boyd through his company, Famous Bar-B-Que LLC, purchased the Rogers, Ark., unit of Famous Dave’s Legendary Pit Bar-B-Que, as well as the right to franchise four additional units in Arkansas and Bowie County, Texas.
Java Detour plans to open between 12 and 15 new units in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area during the next year. The company also plans to open two additional units in Rochester, Minn., by the end of 2008.
Audrey Ranstead of Alaska Bagel Enterprises opened the first Bruegger’s bagel bakery-café outside the continental United States. The new unit is in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Abuelo’s, a Mexican dining chain, plans to open new units in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Chesapeake, Va. in late 2007. The company also plans to open additional units in Florida early next year.