Huddle House, a family dining restaurant with more than 400 units, has signed franchise agreements with Pilot Travel Centers, LLC to open five new restaurants in the next eight months.

The first of the restaurants is opening this May in Frystown, Pennsylvania, with additional openings slated for Anna, Texas, Fargo, North Dakota, New Haven, Indiana, and Lebanon, Indiana.

“In 2012, Huddle House is looking to strengthen its presence with companies like Pilot Travel Centers, LLC, a strong multi-unit restaurant operator operating in the travel center venue,” says Chief Development Officer Mark Whittle. “Expanding our restaurants into travel centers is beneficial for Huddle House because it provides joint traffic flow and a demographic that connects well with the iconic brand, from the quick, friendly service to the variety of food offerings.

In addition, developing the Huddle House brand in travel centers typically involves a much lower cost of capital for franchisee’s to open a restaurant than traditional free standing development.  

“Working with Pilot Travel Centers, LLC will be a key strategy in 2012 and beyond for new restaurant development,” Whittle says. “We are pleased to announce the signing of these initial five locations and hope these will be the first of many more locations to come.”

As a brand that is known well for its wide variety of comfort food items and 24-hour service, Huddle House has developed several new products exclusively for the travel centers to appeal to a broader clientele base. By introducing a new interior design package featuring flexible seating options, larger booths, and a warmer color palate in 2011, Huddle House is well equipped to provide a one-stop option for all of its traveling guests. 

“We have implemented new operations strategies to appeal to the professional driver customer base, as well as the local residents near the facilities,” Whittle says. “One such strategy is a new signature Big Rig Menu. The Big Rig menu not only offers tailored products for the professional drivers, but also ensures that Huddle House maintains strong speed of service to its guests.”

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, News, Pizza, Huddle House