Following three consecutive years of comp sales growth and the successful launch of a new contemporary restaurant prototype, Huddle House announced plans to open 135 new restaurants throughout the Southeast and Texas over the next five years. With nearly 400 restaurants in 21 states, executives with Atlanta-based Huddle House have specifically targeted San Antonio, Waco, and Fort Worth, Texas, for development with the goal of finding the right franchise partners to operate the restaurants.

Huddle House projects to open four new diners in San Antonio, six in Waco and six in Fort Worth. Currently, Huddle House boasts 11 Texas-based franchise locations. Expansion plans are in place for 19
markets in total, including St. Louis, Oklahoma City, and Nashville among others.

"It's an exciting time to be a part of the Huddle House family, and the changes we've made internally are positioning us for both growth and sustained success," says Jim Carr, director of franchising of Huddle House. "We've thoroughly examined the territories we've identified for development and found that the demand for our concept continues to grow. Consequently, we're 100 percent committed to finding business savvy franchise partners who are eager to join our family."

Although the restaurant franchise was founded in 1964, the projected new units won't resemble your father's Huddle House — or even your older brother's for that matter. Each new restaurant will be built
using the new Huddle House prototype, which includes a signature tower entrance, plush seating, and contemporary color schemes. Huddle House restaurants that have converted to the 'evolution' prototype have already seen sales increases of 15 percent or more. Company executives anticipate for 80 percent of its units to be reimaged by 2017, thus building brand cohesiveness for consumers.

The Huddle House growth announcement comes on the heels of significant leadership changes. The company received a major boost in October 2012 after naming Michael Abt, an industry veteran with extensive experience building out brands, as its new CEO. Huddle House also recently appointed longtime Tim Horton's executive Tyrone Counts as COO to build on the company's growth momentum and improve overall sales and profitability.

Huddle House is getting into the spirit of the Texas expansion nationwide by offering the "Big Taste of Texas" limited-time menu, which features value-priced items like the Chicken Fried Chicken, Bacon'Que Sandwich, and Sausage and Gravy Scramble.

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