Industry News | March 13, 2012

Freebirds Heads to Midwest in First Franchise Deal

Tavistock Restaurants has signed its first area development agreement with FB Midwest Development, LLC for the fast growing FREEBIRDS World Burrito concept. The agreement with FB Midwest Development LLC calls for 27 franchised restaurants in Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri.

Partners in Kansas-based FB Midwest Development include members of a strong investment group: well-known Kansas City attorney, Richard Katz; digital entrepreneur and founder of iBright Studios, Bryce Katz; and, as FB Midwest's operating partner, Daniel Harf, who for seven years worked with Tavistock as the chief concept officer for FREEBIRDS and also served as the former vice president of operations for Hard Rock Café and Planet Hollywood.

“Since this was our first franchise deal for Freebirds, we took our time to find the right partners,” says Tavistock Restaurants CEO Bryan Lockwood. “We have known the key players at FB Midwest Development for years and are extremely pleased to have them as our first franchise group.”  

“Bryan called me when Tavistock purchased the concept, so I have witnessed the growth, and in our opinion, FREEBIRDS will challenge everyone’s idea of what a great burrito should be and give the category leaders a run for their money in the Midwest,” says Richard Katz.

Concurrently, FB Midwest Development announced that it has signed its first lease for a FREEBIRDS restaurant with LANE4 Property Group at Mission Crossings, currently under construction at 61st and Metcalf in Mission, Kansas. 

The company anticipates opening several Kansas City locations in the next six months and then will develop restaurants in Lawrence, Kansas; Omaha, Nebraska; Columbia, Missouri; and Wichita, Kansas. 

The Katz Law Firm has for years represented some of the most prominent Midwest Real Estate Developers in Kansas City and Omaha, including RED, Wal-mart, LANE4, and the RH Johnson Company.  

"When Rick brought Freebirds to us, we jumped on the opportunity to be his landlord, as everyone knows FREEBIRDS’ success in Texas and California,” says Owen Buckley, president of LANE4.

FREEBIRDS has restaurants in Texas, Oklahoma, and California, where it has developed a cult following for its freshly prepared burritos, burrito bowls, salads, nachos and more.  

According to FREEBIRDS president Jim Mizes, “The agreement with FB Midwest Development is just the first of many as we seek area developers who have the operational and financial capability of building 10 to 40 restaurants in one or more markets.”