bd’s Mongolian Grill announced the restaurant chain’s latest Florida expansion in the Tampa Bay area. Franchisee Darryl Thomas purchased the Lakeland, Florida, and Oldsmar, Florida, bd’s locations and already began his efforts to expand the brand locally.

“Restaurants that provide value will be successful, even as consumers are still pinching pennies,” says Thomas of the Mongolian-style restaurant where guests create their own “Mongo Feast” and watch as it is prepared on a large, flat grill. “With bd’s Mongolian Grill, I recognized a unique opportunity to locally expand a brilliant brand that offers great food and energy to guests.”

Thomas’ immediate goals for the restaurants include expanding food offerings such as appetizers and 2010 limited time promotions. He and his managers intend to be very involved with the Oldsmar and Lakeland communities.

“Darryl brings to bd’s a unique set of sales, marketing, and corporate leadership skills, which will be invaluable as he takes the reins in Florida,” says Rodger Head, president and CEO of bd’s Mongolian Grill. “We are thrilled that he is on board.”

Previous to purchasing bd’s, Thomas spent 14 years with the Coca-Cola Company, most recently as vice president of the Burger King International account team. He relocated from London, where he served as president of Nautilus, International. Thomas retained Tampa natives Charles Merle and Darren Ware as general managers. Operating partner Larry McGowan will oversee the day-to-day operation of both restaurants.

As part of its commitment to serving the local community, bd’s is kicking off 2010 by highlighting healthy eating with its “Fun, Fresh Foods” promotion that focuses on raising funds and awareness for the American Heart Association. The promotion starts January 11.

News, Mongolian Grill