Old Carolina Barbecue Company (oldcarolina.com), a fast casual concept founded in 2006 by the owners of Ichor Restaurant Group, has signed its first area development agreement with Hospitality Partners, Incorporated. HPI committed to opening five Old Carolina units in the east side of Cleveland over the next three years. 

"You have to love the food first because, if you don't believe in the product, you can't sell the product," says Todd Schafer, Hospitality Partners, Inc. president. "Old Carolina smokes all its barbecue in-house and they never take shortcuts. Making great barbecue requires a lot of passion and dedication to do it right. That's what Old Carolina has, and that's why I wanted to be a part of it."

Kicking off the expansion will be a 5,200 square foot location in Lyndhurst, Ohio, which will be considerably larger than the typical Old Carolina restaurant. With a more expansive kitchen space, this unit will act as the catering hub for futures stores on Cleveland’s east side.  

"While our main focus is on providing our guests with an extraordinary in-house dining experience, we also do a significant amount of catering outside our restaurants," says Brian Bailey, Old Carolina president. "In fact, catering sales in our corporate stores contribute up to 40 percent in additional revenue." 

The Lyndhurst restaurant will also include a semi-private party room that will allow guests to host parties and meetings. Opening day is scheduled for the end of May.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Fast Casual, Growth, News, Pizza, Old Carolina Barbecue Company