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Huey Magoo’s is next venture for Papa John’s ‘zee


Andy Howard, left, CEO of Huey Magoo’s with Dean Thompson, one of its new franchisees.

Dean Thompson ate more than 50 chicken tenders in five days during his visits to all seven Huey Magoo’s restaurants in the Orlando area but says he was already convinced it was the right brand for him before even trying the food.

“Andy had me sold over the phone,” says Thompson, referring to Andy Howard, the former Wingstop exec who’s been growing Huey Magoo’s Chicken Tenders since buying the brand in 2016.

After reading an article about Howard and the other Wingstop executives who brought their expertise to Huey Magoo’s, Thompson was impressed with the operational savvy behind the brand and felt it was an ideal complement to his portfolio of Papa John’s restaurants. Thompson, along with partners Derry Thompson and Alex Larson, signed a multi-unit development agreement to open an initial 10 stores in the greater Atlanta area, with the option to add 36 more. Working in restaurants most of his life, Thompson was on Papa John’s corporate side before taking over an Atlanta-area location in 1998 and eventually opening 10 more franchise units.

He considered some burger and Mexican brands before turning to chicken and says Huey Magoo’s is perfectly positioned for growth.

“It’s chasing after the younger market with the ingredients they use, the hormone-free, cage-free products,” says Thompson. “That’s what the younger demographic is after.” The salads with grilled tenders are another draw for consumers wanting a healthier option, he notes, and the counter-service concept is simple to operate.

Thompson plans to introduce the brand directly to Georgia consumers by inviting people in for free meals and believes once they taste the product, they’ll come back and spread the word. He pointed out he has tenured operators from his Papa John’s locations to help get the restaurants up and running.

“I know in my heart that this is a winner,” says Thompson. “Andy is a great operator and I know they have what it takes.”

Quick Hits

The Habit Burger plans to expand to Illinois and Indiana through a 20-store franchise development agreement with Tremendous Brands Group, based in Bloomfield, Michigan.

Restaurant brokerage We Sell Restaurants signed a deal with Justin Scotto and his company, Carolina Restaurant Brokerage, to open three locations throughout the Charlotte, North Carolina, region. It also has an agreement with David Whitcomb, president of DDT Holdings, who will bring the brand to Naples, Florida.  

Blink Fitness is breaking into new areas with a 10-unit agreement. The deal with Cove Fitness calls for five gyms in Northern Virginia, three in Austin, Texas, and two in Charleston, South Carolina.

Captain D’s signed a development agreement with Josh Royal, president of Harborside Holdings Corp., to open three locations in South Florida. It also signed a deal with NFL retiree Donnell Thompson, who will expand the brand in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Meal prep concept Lean Kitchen Company signed a multi-unit deal with the Ragsdale family to open five locations in Denver and three locations in Wichita, Kansas. The Ragsdales—Wayne, Jared, Jason and Ryan—also have eight family-owned supplement stores.

The Barre Code, a ballet barre-inspired fitness concept, inked a second franchise agreement with Michigan owners Lindsay Irrer and Janelle Herbert for an additional seven locations. The two already have three locations.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchisee Jerry Stephan plans to bring 21 Dickey’s locations to New York after signing a multi-unit development agreement. He’ll operate two units and help Dickey’s choose owner-operators and site locations for the rest.

Pancheros Mexican Grill signed a multi-unit agreement with restaurateur William Castaneda for three units in the Cary region of North Carolina.

Deal Tracker is the place to find news of multi-unit development agreements. Want more? Sign up for the semi-monthly e-newsletter at franchisetimes.com/e-newsletter. Email details of your deals to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com

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