McAlister’s Deli announced it has signed an agreement with existing franchise group Southwest Deli to open eight locations in Arizona, including the markets of Tucson, Yuma, and Flagstaff. The first of the new locations is expected to open in late 2015 with additional locations to open each year thereafter. McAlister’s Deli has one Arizona restaurant today, located in Scottsdale, with an additional location under development in Peoria, slated to open in November.

“We are excited about the brand’s accelerated growth and expansion throughout Arizona and especially our continued growth with Southwest Deli,” says McAlister’s chief development officer Jeff Sturgis. “McAlister’s has experienced great success in the Southwest and there are ample opportunities to expand our footprint across the region through franchise development. Southwest Deli consistently is recognized as one of our top franchisees, so we are confident the team will build a loyal fan base throughout these communities.”

Southwest Deli operates 19 McAlister’s restaurants in Texas and New Mexico. The group has a development plan in place for five states, including continued growth in Texas and New Mexico, as well as new territories in Utah, Idaho, and Arizona. This year, Southwest Deli opened restaurants in Abilene and Andrews, Texas, as well as Carlsbad, New Mexico, and has plans to open three additional locations this year in Texas.

“Arizona has proven to be a successful market for McAlister’s, making it the perfect location to develop additional restaurants,” says Larry Lee, owner of Southwest Deli. “We are looking forward to bringing McAlister’s Famous Sweet Tea, sandwiches, soups, and spuds to the local communities of Tucson, Yuma, and Flagstaff.”

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Fast Casual, Growth, News, Sandwiches, McAlister's Deli