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Two Multi-Unit Franchisees Prefer Tried & True


Tony Lutfi, Marlu Investments


Three multi-unit, multi-brand franchisees own more than 550 units among them, but at least two of them have no interest in emerging concepts. They spoke at a Restaurant Finance & Development Conference panel Wednesday.

“I find new concepts very exciting, but we’ve never pulled the trigger,” said Bob Berg, the largest Popeye's operator in the country with 150 stores in seven states. He also owns 200 Taco Bell and Burger King restaurants.  “We feel more comfortable—we like to see the brands we invest in that withstood the test of time.”

Tony Lutfi, CEO of Marlu Investments, owns 208 stores across 11 states, including Jack in the Box, Captain D’s, Sizzler and Sears home appliance franchises. He, too, sticks with the tried and true.

“Great brands are going to come up,” he said. “But we pay just as much attention to the risk as the opportunity.” He likes brands that are at least 25 years old, and which have “faced the down cycle at least once and recovered.”

Sunil Dharod, on the other hand, a large Applebee’s franchisee in Texas, offered at least a little hope to franchisors of emerging concepts, who covet multi-unit franchisees. “I would like to add one more brand” in the next year or two, he said, but didn’t specify which kind.

Dennis Monroe, Monroe Moxness Berg, moderated the panel to open the last day of the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in Las Vegas. The event is presented by Franchise Times’ sister publication, the Restaurant Finance Monitor.

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About This Blog

The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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