Aliso Viejo-based Johnny Rockets Restaurant Group Inc. launched an international division and promoted a member of its executive team to lead the new group.

Johnny Rockets has an estimated $300 million in annual revenue and ranks as the eight-largest restaurant chain based in Orange County, according to the most recent Business Journal list.

Steve Devine, former executive vice president of franchise development, will lead the international group.

The size of the international team, which Devine will be responsible for assembling, has yet to be determined, a spokeswoman said.

Johnny Rockets is currently interviewing for a new executive to lead domestic franchise sales.

The new division is expected to support international franchisees as Johnny Rockets looks to grow outside the U.S. from 68 restaurants to 180 over the next few years through franchising agreements.

Johnny Rockets currently totals 287 restaurants, with 28 of those company-owned locations.

The company’s international locations have been growing at a rapid clip.

The first Johnny Rockets in the Dominican Republic opened in the capitol city of Santo Domingo last month and is the company's largest restaurant outside the U.S. totaling more than 6,000 square feet.

That followed the opening of a Johnny Rockets in Santiago, Chile, which is the second of a planned five restaurants for South America expected to open by next year.

Franchise agreements for other countries have also been signed and there are plans to grow in Nigeria, Indonesia, Morocco, Brazil and other countries this year. Deals with franchisees to open restaurants in Pakistan, Thailand and Costa Rica among other places are being discussed.