Denver-based Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill, a fast-casual restaurant concept featuring a fresh, authentic, and healthy Mediterranean menu, announced today the awarding of franchise development rights to Oklahoma-based franchisee GMG Oklahoma, LLC. 

With the rights to develop up to 10 restaurants in Oklahoma, GMG Oklahoma is scheduled to open its first location on the Northwest Expressway in Oklahoma City this October. It plans to immediately move forward with additional metro locations, focusing initially on Edmond and Norman.

GMG Oklahoma was formed earlier this year by Ed Lynn, a Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar (BWW) franchisee. Lynn owns BWW locations in Oklahoma City, Enid, and Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Prior to entering the restaurant business, Lynn spent his career in real estate and hotel development and management, including 14 years as a Choice Hotels franchisee, operating nine hotels in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas.

“Expanding the Garbanzo brand to Oklahoma is very exciting for us, especially in partnership with such an experienced group like Ed’s,” says Bob Bafundo, Garbanzo director of franchise development and operations. “Their years as restaurant operators in the market enabled them to see an opportunity for fresh, healthy, and authentic Mediterranean cuisine and seize it. We are very fortunate to have Ed and his team on board and look forward to bringing Garbanzo to Oklahoma.”

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

“The Garbanzo brand is growing quickly, and we have been fortunate to sign deals with numerous franchise groups across the country,” Bafundo says. “We look forward to announcing additional franchise partners over the next several months.”

Lynn adds, “Over the years, I looked into many different restaurant concepts; but none stood out to me quite like Garbanzo. The combination of healthy fast-casual, unique Mediterranean food, and an established corporate base appealed to me.

“I knew Oklahoma City would respond to a cutting-edge concept like Garbanzo and enjoy the diverse flavors and healthy menu offerings just as much as I did. I am thrilled about this partnership and cannot wait to share it with my city,” he says. 

“Oklahoma City is hip and vibrant with residents who know good food. We are fortunate to have found a veteran group like Ed’s to help bring us there,” says Alon Mor, Garbanzo founder, president, and CEO. “This partnership is just one more step in our strategic growth plan to open Garbanzo locations across the country and join with seasoned restaurateurs interested in offering an authentic, distinctive Mediterranean menu.”

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, Garbanzo