Arby's Restaurant Group, franchisor of the iconic quick-service sandwich chain with more than 3,400 systemwide Arby's restaurants, announced the sale of 42 company-owned locations and development rights in Seattle and Portland, Oregon, to proven restaurateur, Tony Lutfi.
In addition to remodeling at least 17 restaurants purchased in the Seattle/Portland market, Lutfi committed to building five new Arby's locations over the next several years.
A 33-year restaurant veteran, Lutfi already owns and operates 78 restaurant franchises with Arby's, Jack in the Box, Church's Chicken, Sizzler, and Little Caesars, along with 14 Sears Home Appliance Showrooms.
Lutfi, CEO and president of Sacramento, California–based Marlu Investment Group, is no stranger to the 48-year-old quick-service sandwich chain, having franchised the concept in the early 1990s in Northern California.
As an immigrant in 1976 with a vision of achieving great things, Lutfi's restaurant career now spans five brands in seven states. Lutfi has held countless positions in the restaurant sector, successfully fulfilling stints as a cook, late-night closer, VP of operations, chairman, CEO, and multiunit franchisee.
With the new Arby's deal, his portfolio now encompasses a total of 120 restaurants.
"The timing has never been better to invest with Arby's and work with the seasoned management team to usher in a new era for the iconic brand," Lutfi says. "Arby's consistent sales gains over the past two years and re-energized brand initiatives, including new product lines and marketing strategies, make it an attractive addition to our portfolio."
Arby's deal with Lutfi is the company's second refranchising agreement since being acquired by Roark Capital Group in July 2011. In July 2012, Arby's announced the sale of 51 company-owned locations and extensive development rights for Dallas/Fort Worth to Guillermo Perales, the nation's largest Latino franchisee and one of the most pre-eminent multibrand franchisees in North America.
Arby's enters its new relationship with Lutfi after experiencing eight consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth.
"Arby's has withstood the test of time for nearly half a century, and to remain an industry leader for the next 50 years, we're seeking market development opportunities with experienced, qualified franchisees like Tony to help us grow the brand the right way," says Hala Moddelmog, president of Arby's. "Tony brings a wealth of industry knowledge and expertise to the Pacific Northwest, and attracting someone of his business acumen and esteemed reputation is a true testament to our brand."
While continuing to pursue refranchising transactions in selected markets targeted for growth, Arby's will nevertheless retain a healthy percentage of company-owned restaurants.
The company is leading a new remodeling program in its markets and will continue to invest in all facets of the business, from research and development of new products to facilities, operations, and advertising and marketing.