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Aliso Viejo-based Johnny Rockets Group Inc. said HDS Polska Group in Warsaw plans to open 10 Johnny Rockets over the next 10 years in Poland, a new market for the retro burger chain.
Polska runs 800 restaurants and convenience stores in the country. It’s a division of Paris-based Lagardere Services, which operates restaurants, duty-free shops, and retail stores in airports and railway stations in 29 countries.
The first Johnny Rockets under the new agreement is expected to open next year in Warsaw.
The deal paves “the way for future growth in Europe,” said James Walker, president of operations and development.
"It's the continued globalization of the brand and our [entry] into Eastern Europe," he said.
Walker said the scope Lagardere's operations made the company a good franchisee candidate. Restaurant chains have of late been working with larger franchisee groups to expand internationally; Irvine-based Taco Bell Corp.'s parent Yum Brands Inc. has made similar moves in India recently.
Johnny Rockets had said as early as 2012 it wanted to expand in Poland and the rest of Europe. Its website lists one site in Europe, in Ramstein, Germany.
“We’re committed to franchise growth … and have found great partners around the world,” said Charles Bruce, president chief executive of Johnny Rockets.
Boca Raton-based Sun Capital Partners owns Johnny Rockets.
The chain has about 330 locations and $343 million in 2014 systemwide sales.
About 125 Johnny Rockets are in 26 foreign countries.