Industry News | April 11, 2006

Pandini's Wins National Award as Hot New Restaurant Concept

Pandini's, a premier fast-casual Italian bistro, has been named a winner of the prestigious Hot Concepts! Award for their innovation, emerging growth potential, consumer appeal, and the ability to fire up appetites in multiple markets.

Pandini's, one of the nine concepts from Allentown, Pennsylvania-based Retail Brand Group has 15 locations nationwide. This year's win for Pandini's marks the second Retail Brand Group restaurant to be named a Hot Concept!; Jazzman's(R) Cafe was honored in 2004. The award, now in its twelfth year, is sponsored by Nation's Restaurant News and EQUAL(R).

"We know there is a bright year ahead for Pandini's," says Damon Liever, president of the Retail Brand Group, LLC. "We get a phenomenal customer response to this brand and we have sustained growth year over year; our average comp store sales year to date is 11 percent."

The Retail Brand Group expects to open as many as eight more company- managed Pandini's this spring in corporate, healthcare and campus locations. The company recently signed for the first Pandini's franchise location which will open in Charlotte, NC later this year.

"It's truly thrilling to have Pandini's recognized as a Hot Concept!," says Husein Kitabwalla, vice president of development for the Retail Brand Group. "We know first-hand the kind of momentum that comes with an award like this and Pandini's has come so far as a brand already -- we have a location in South Carolina that is averaging between $25k and $30k a week in sales."

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