Diversified Restaurant Holdings Inc. (DRH), the owner/operator and franchisor of Bagger Dave’s, a casual restaurant and bar concept that recently started franchising, and a leading franchisee of Buffalo Wild Wings, announced the addition of Philip Friedman to its board of directors.

Friedman, a 32-year veteran in the franchise community and former CEO and president of the McAlister Corporation (McAlister’s Deli), has offered his expertise in the booming segment of fast-casual dining to numerous concepts over the years, among them Rosti Restaurants, a Los Angeles–based casual and take-out Italian restaurant chain; Panda Management Company Inc., developers and operators of more than 300 Chinese restaurants throughout the U.S. and Japan; Roadhouse Grill Inc.; Eateries Inc. (Garfield’s Restaurants); and Romacorp Inc. (Tony Roma Restaurants). After stepping down from his post at McAlister’s Deli in September 2010, Friedman utilized his industry know-how to form the Mississippi Restaurant Group, an entity that acquires, manages, and grows small restaurant chains.

“I couldn’t be more excited to join the young, dynamic team at DRH,” Friedman says. “Michael Ansley has done a fantastic job developing the Buffalo Wild Wings brand and Bagger Dave’s is a unique concept that is in a great position for growth. Joining the board of directors was a natural fit for me as it plays to my talents in both the restaurant industry and franchising. I hope to lend my expertise in business strategy and franchise development to help build the brand.”

Bagger Dave’s was founded in 2008 by Michael Ansley, one of the nation’s largest Buffalo Wild Wings franchisees and president and CEO of Diversified Restaurant Holdings Inc., the holding company formed in 2007 whose portfolio today includes 14 Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants in Michigan and seven in Florida.

“We have a great foundation in place,” Ansley says. “Our corporate stores are thriving and we’ve created a nice niche for ourselves in the ‘better burger’ category between fast casual and casual dining with a modern interpretation of the old-fashioned neighborhood bar. But I’ve built this team of industry greats to help take us to the next level and expand our concept across state lines.”

In addition to its original Berkley location, Bagger Dave’s operates three other company-owned restaurants in Michigan. It has been approved to franchise in its home state, as well as Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Plans call for opening three Bagger Dave’s locations in 2011 and a total of up to 24 new locations over the next five years. The brand is targeting development partners with multiunit restaurant management experience able to commit to a minimum two-store development agreement. Bagger Dave’s will be finalizing its FDD within the next month, which will highlight attractive incentives for developers in the upper Midwest who meet the company’s franchisee profile.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Growth, News, Bagger Dave's, Buffalo Wild Wings