The Midwest-based Culver's restaurant chain added 31 new restaurants in 2015 that included nine in Florida, bringing the total in the sunshine state to 21. Ground was also broken for restaurants in new states of North Carolina and Georgia; the new locations are scheduled to open in early 2016. Culver's finished 2015 with 561 restaurants in 22 states.

"Existing franchisees were definitely in an expansion mindset in 2015 and we welcomed many new franchisees of many different backgrounds who saw Culver's as a great franchise opportunity," says Phil Keiser, president and CEO of Culver Franchising System Inc. "With over 40 more restaurants in the pipeline in 2016 we should exceed 600 restaurants by year's end."

Five of the 31 new restaurants opened in 2015 were attributed to the Culver's Mentor program whereby members of a franchisee's management team partner with their current franchisee to open their own Culver's.

Additionally in 2015, 51 current restaurants were updated to the current brand. "It's important to keep the interior and exterior of our restaurants fresh and up to date because our guests have told us that in addition to quality food and hospitality the look of our facilities is important to them," Keiser adds.

A similar number of projects are planned for 2016.

News, Culver's