Fresh off the heels of a record-breaking year, Corner Bakery Cafe plans to significantly expand its presence in the Northeast by opening approximately 18 new restaurants in the Boston area.

The company recently sold out markets in neighboring Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Growth of the fast-casual bakery cafe will be accomplished through franchising, and Corner Bakery officials are actively seeking experienced restaurant professionals with the ability to open multiple locations to drive the development.

Company executives believe Boston represents a tremendous growth opportunity that will play a key role as Corner Bakery Cafe moves forward on its goal to double its U.S. footprint by the end of 2015. Founded in downtown Chicago in 1991, there are now more than 145 Corner Bakery Cafes open in 14 states and Washington, D.C.

"Corner Bakery Cafe and Boston are a perfect match," says Jonathan Benjamin, vice president of franchise sales for Corner Bakery Cafe. "Neighborhoods are an important part of the Boston community, and we are confident that once we find the right francisees, our cafes will quickly become a local favorite."

The announcement comes after a strong 2012 in which Corner Bakery signed 10 new Area Development Agreements representing 125 new cafes, raising the total to 147 open cafes and 288 under development.

Corner Bakery Cafe's made-to-order menu features hot breakfast scramblers, signature panini sandwiches, homemade soups, hand-tossed salads, pastas, and desserts, while providing a friendly gathering place for families and friends.

Corner Bakery Cafe also provides a catering platform, presenting fresh food packaged for delivery or pick up.

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