Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers announced that it was named the fifth fastest growing chain restaurant operator in the U.S. and Canada by research firm Chain Store Guide.

Freddy’s started in Wichita in 2002. The ranking compared its growth in number of stores from 2004 to the present level of six company-affiliated stores and 31 franchise-operated stores. Chain Store Guide, a sister publication to Nation’s Restaurant News, provides information databases covering retailers, restaurants, distributors, and wholesalers in the U.S. and Canada.

“The timing of this announcement could not have been better,” Bill Simon, Freddy’s President, says. “It came just a few days before our third national franchise meeting and added to the excitement of the already-energized group. The article pointed out that growth restaurant chains still exist, even though for the last three of the five years in the measurement period, ‘the restaurant industry and the U.S. economy in general have faced crippling economic pressures.”

In addition to the recognized historical growth, there are currently franchise stores under construction in Lawrence and Junction City, Kansas; Flagstaff and Goodyear, Arizona; Round Rock, Texas; and Longmont, Colorado; as well as an affiliated store in the Kansas City market. Coupled with a new Freddy’s opened earlier this year in Aurora, Colorado, and additional stores in various stages of development, the company expects the chain to reach the 50-store milestone late this year.

“Our franchisees are proceeding with growth at a rate unprecedented in our history,” says Mark Scholler, vice president of franchise development. “It is so reassuring to see these entrepreneurs moving forward, especially in the face of such economic headwinds. The combination of lower real estate prices and favorable returns on existing stores has helped to spur the recent development activity.”

Chief operating officer, Scott Redler, said it was rewarding to report some pertinent facts and figures about Freddy’s at the recent franchise gathering that was held in Kansas City. “It’s my belief that the positive sales growth in mature stores has affirmed the viability of the concept,” he says. “In addition to the national recognition of our recent growth, we have achieved some major milestones. The Freddy’s system is currently serving 135,000 guests per week in our stores and we will cook to order over five million steakburgers and in excess of three million pounds of Freddy’s fries on an annualized basis. It’s been an unexpected phenomenon to watch our guests become such great Freddy’s fans since the opening of our first store in west Wichita.”

In a corresponding response to record sales and profits, Freddy’s has resumed development of its affiliate-owned stores after a two-year hiatus to build and reinforce its franchise support infrastructure. Ben Simon, director of operations, announced the development of three new Freddy’s in the company markets of Wichita and Kansas City.

“After the successful opening of our sixth company store in Derby, Kansas, last fall, we were extremely eager to continue the growth of our portfolio with the prime real estate that has recently become available in our markets,” Simon says. “We are ready for our expansion with a full roster of trained managers who look forward to the opportunity of becoming Freddy’s operating partners in their own stores . . . the Freddy’s way.”

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