Word of Mouth

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill is expanding to the East Coast

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill, which is owned and operated by Denver based Alon Mor, has signed a deal with Doherty Enterprises to expand its dining concept to the East Coast.

Doherty has the rights to open fifty Garbanzo franchises and plans to start opening stores sometime next year, according to Bob Bafundo, director of franchise development and operation for Garbanzo.

Even though Garbanzo's first franchise restaurant won't be open until 2011, Bafundo says the company has been working on the idea for some time. "It takes at least a year to meet all the requirements that the government has to be a franchise and we completed them in October," he notes. "Beyond that, the leadership team at Garbanzo thinks that the concept is one that will appeal to many people across the country, and we felt it was the right strategy at the right time."

Many people on the Garbanzo team have worked with or owned other franchises in Colorado. "Obviously, franchising is a proven method of expansion in the restaurant industry," Bafundo adds. "Part of the reason we wanted to continue growth of our brand through franchising is because we have had success in other franchise opportunities...I think it's a great indication for the strength of the brand that we are growing in these times, and we anticipate to have at least fifteen Colorado open stores in 2010."

Doherty was selected as the first franchisee because of its experience. "They are a highly successful restaurant company," Bafundo notes. "They operate 96 restaurants and six brands," among them Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar, Panera Bread, Chevy's Fresh Mex and El Pollo Loco. "We are targeting successful multi-store operators who want to operate a brand, and they were a perfect fit for that," he continues.

Garbanzo has also been in discussion with other franchise companies to expand that brand in Colorado, Washington and Baltimore. "We are targeting the northwest mountains and the northeast corridor," Bafundo says. "They are a major market in the west region."

For more information on Garbanzo, go to http://www.eatgarbanzo.com/