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Johnny Rockets Eyeing DFW for Texas Expansion

johnny-rockets-paint
Photo courtesy of Johnny Rockets.

Johnny Rockets, the 28-year-old “All-American” restaurant chain famous for its home-style hamburgers and milkshakes, has announced plans for expansion in Texas that will include opening as many as 10 new locations in Dallas-Fort Worth.

The chain, which currently operates two North Texas locations at Six Flags Over Texas and Dallas SpeedZone, was acquired in 2013 by Sun Capital Partners Inc.

Its growth targets in Texas are Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. “Dallas is a pivotal market with a lot of opportunity for us,” says James Walker, Johnny Rockets’ chief development officer. “It’s the only market we currently have a presence in within Texas.”

Johnny Rockets locations—it has more than 300 in 26 countries—are primarily in enclosed malls and outlet centers. The chain plans to open more than 60 stores across the country throughout the remainder of 2014.

Its six to 10 new DFW units will tentatively open in the first quarter of 2015.

Plans for the Texas expansion were drawn late last year, when Sun Capital and Johnny Rockets’ internal development team began considering geography, growth opportunities, real estate access, and viable customer bases. “Texas is very high on all of those fronts—there’s room to grow, there are viable sites, there’s viable partners, and there’s a great customer base, so it really has all of the things we’re looking for,” Walker said.

According to data from the National Restaurant Association’s 2014 Restaurant Industry Forecast, Texas’ restaurant market is projected to register $42.6 billion in sales and to employ 10 percent of the state’s workforce in 2014. “Johnny Rockets tends to do well with families, with college-educated individuals, and with people who like the All-American dining experience,” Walker says. “And that certainly sounds like North Texas to me.”