Dallas group buys 21 Chilis locations

by Eric Schroeder
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DALLAS — Muy Mucho Group, L.P., a newly formed franchisee, has signed a franchise and development agreement with Brinker International, Inc. to acquire 21 existing Chili’s Grill & Bar restaurants in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska for $19 million. In addition, Muy Mucho has agreed to develop 5 to 10 new Chili’s locations in the same region.

“The extensive industry experience and expertise held by the Muy Mucho team will ensure their success as they begin operations leadership and further brand development for Chili’s in this region,” said Don Reyburn, vice-president of franchise development for Brinker International.

Based in Dallas, Muy Mucho is led by Mark Menking, a restaurant industry veteran and former president for the la Madeline Bakery & Cafe restaurant brand; and Jeff Jones, a 24-year Chili’s and Brinker veteran who will be the company’s chief operating officer.

“We are excited to build on the strength of the Chili’s team and market presence established in these North Central regions by Brinker International,” said Mr. Menking, who is president and chief executive officer of Muy Mucho.

Through the first quarter of fiscal 2010 ended in September, Brinker said franchisees operated 40% of its restaurants. The company has said it plans to boost franchisee ownership in the future. Founded in 1975 and based in Dallas, Brinker owns or franchises nearly 1,700 restaurants in 29 countries and two territories, and employs more than 125,000. In addition to Chili’s, the company’s other restaurant brands include On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina and Maggiano’s Little Italy. Brinker also holds a minority investment in Romano’s Macaroni Grill.

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