Denver-based Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill today announced the awarding of a franchise opportunity to Texas-based franchisee Blue Jean Food Group (BJFG). 

Opening Garbanzo locations in the San Antonio and Austin, BJFG has rights to develop up to 15 restaurants. The first location is slated to open in San Antonio in late summer 2012.

BJFG is a family owned and operated restaurant group that owns the full-service seafood restaurant Pelican’s Landing in Port Aransas, Texas, and previously was involved in the Big Boy concept, also in Texas.

“We could not be more thrilled about joining with Blue Jean Food Group to introduce Garbanzo to the San Antonio and Austin markets,” says Bob Bafundo, Garbanzo director of franchise development and operations.

“Blue Jean Food Group is a top-rate operator with tremendous experience and knowledge of the San Antonio and Austin markets, ideal for launching and establishing our fresh, authentic Mediterranean concept in their home state. We welcome them to the Garbanzo family and anticipate a strong and successful relationship.”

Garbanzo has strict qualification criteria for potential franchisees. Only experienced, successful multi-unit restaurant operators who are well capitalized and interested in additional multi-unit growth with the Garbanzo brand are considered.

“Expanding the concept beyond the borders of Colorado is a major landmark in the history of Garbanzo,” Bafundo says. “Our brand has received consistent interest from experienced franchisees since inception in 2007, and we have been very fortunate to sign deals with numerous groups across the country. 

“We only see that interest continuing to grow as more and more companies recognize the demand and enthusiasm for fast-casual Mediterranean in their areas. This year will be one of many firsts for Garbanzo franchising as we enter new markets, and we look forward to announcing those deals over the next few months.”

“I am very excited to be bringing such a unique concept like Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill to the San Antonio and Austin markets,” says Michael Ahlstrom, Blue Jean Food Group president. “With the fresh-food movement growing, these communities are seeking a healthy, tasty alternative to the common-place, processed-food fast food restaurant.”

“Joining with a solid organization such as Blue Jean Food Group furthers our franchising goal of selecting quality operators over quantity in order to strategically grow the Garbanzo brand nationwide,” says Alon Mor, Garbanzo founder, president and CEO. “And for seasoned restaurateurs, Garbanzo offers an original, high caliber concept with distinctive menu offerings for their portfolios.”

Franchising is one of Garbanzo’s key growth strategies building upon the success of its 14 company-owned restaurants in Colorado. In addition to expansion through franchising, Garbanzo will continue its aggressive company development both in the state and outside Colorado’s borders, specifically in the D.C./Baltimore area.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Growth, News, Pizza, Garbanzo