Denver-based Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill, a fast-casual restaurant concept offering made-from-scratch Mediterranean fare, announced today the awarding of franchise development rights to its first New Jersey franchisee Garjersey LLC.

Owning the rights to develop up to 27 Garbanzo restaurants in the northern and central New Jersey area, Garjersey is considering sights in Passaic, Bergen, Morris, Essex, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean counties and plans to open its first location in early 2013.

Garjersey is co-owned and operated by Robert Rosenfeld, who, over the course of his career, has owned several restaurant concepts throughout the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area, including Wendy’s, Roy Rogers, and Sbarro franchises, as well as various independent concepts of his own.

“It is wonderful to experience the excitement and energy Robert and the Garjersey team have for Garbanzo. We could not be more thrilled to work with such a dynamic group,” says Bob Bafundo, Garbanzo vice president of company and franchise operations. “Robert’s professional history in the New York-New Jersey area coupled with his restaurant owner-operator experience will serve us well as we enter our eastern most market to date. In partnership with Garjersey, we are looking forward to establishing our fresh, healthy, and authentic concept in many New Jersey communities.”

Garbanzo has firm 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.

“I came across Garbanzo in my industry research, and something intriguing pulled me in. I felt as though the concept jumped off the computer screen and grabbed me,” explains Rosenfeld. “It was the healthy menu, Mediterranean cuisine, and alternative offerings that made it stand out among the sea of burgers, pizza and burrito concepts. A melting pot with a dense population and many residents familiar with Mediterranean food, New Jersey is a perfect market for the authentic Garbanzo menu.”

“The New York-New Jersey metropolitan area is known for its fusion of foods, flavors and cultures,” says Alon Mor, Garbanzo founder, president, and CEO. “I am confident Garbanzo will fit right in and provide the community with a one-of-a-kind, healthy and fresh Mediterranean option they cannot find anywhere else.”

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-owned restaurant development both in the state and outside Colorado’s borders, specifically in the D.C./Baltimore area.

Garbanzo offers guests a variety of authentic Mediterranean items with an emphasis on flavor, freshness, and quality, as well as a healthy trans-fat free menu. Guests have the ability to customize every meal with items such as pita, laffa, falafel, shwarma, hummus, seasoned rice, sauces, and dressings. Garbanzo salads and sauces are prepared on-site daily, and the pita are made from scratch throughout the day in every restaurant. Additionally, several ingredients are bought locally and some are imported directly from the Mediterranean region. 

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