When Vice President of Development, Jeff Sturgis joined McAlister’s® Deli in 2013, the company’s growth in terms of number of new openings was relatively flat, having opened only 12 restaurants that year.
Earlier this year, McAlister’s® Deli announced a successful 2016, with 33 new openings and $591,303,426 in system-wide sales. The company notes its growth was fueled in part by new franchise agreements signed with prominent multi-unit franchise owners. Sturgis explains, “We have done a lot of work over the last few years to drive profitable top line sales, refresh and update the look and feel of our restaurants and engage with our guests, and this this work triggered the existing franchisee base to reinvest in the brand, so the existing franchisees were opening new restaurants. This led to attracting new franchisees to the system. The work that started a few years ago and continues to present, helped lead to this year; where we are on pace to open 40 new units.” The brand estimates the cost for a franchisee to open a McAlister’s® Deli, not including real estate, between $762,000 and $1,023,000.
In 2016, McAlister’s® Deli opened 33 new restaurants, with a geographical spread over several states including Texas, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, North and South Carolina. New markets, including Naples, FL; Cleveland, OH; Buffalo, NY; NW Indiana; and Blacksburg, VA. Commitments were signed to open future McAlister’s® restaurants in several states including Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, Georgia and Alabama.
“It started with foundational work; we gained the confidence of our existing franchisees, and they gained confidence in the brand and started reinvesting in us,” added Sturgis.
In 2017, McAlister’s® will continue its aggressive expansion with plans to open new restaurants in first time markets, such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Salt Lake City and Tucson, and additional restaurants in established markets including Dayton, Tempe, Dallas, Chicago and Northern Virginia. The company anticipates this growth will be fueled by both existing franchisees as well as new partnerships with experienced multi-unit franchise owners with notable portfolios.
“The McAlister’s® Deli brand has set a foundation for long-term growth while building momentum for a significant year,” said McAlister’s President Paul Macaluso. “We continue to be focused on profitable top-line growth, excellent unit-level economics and finding the right franchisees to bring great dining experiences to our guests around the country.”
McAlister’s® Deli currently operates more than 400 locations in the U.S., across 28 states. The company states that it has attracted a record number of franchise inquiries in recent years due to its quality leadership, healthy sales to investment ratio, and exceptional company performance. This year, McAlister’s® climbed to No. 23 on Entrepreneur Magazine’s 38th Annual Franchise 500® ranking, an award based on five pillars, including growth, brand strength and financial stability.