After experiencing consistent robust sales at the more than 3,500 restaurants in the Arby's system, Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc. announced today the sale of 51 company-owned locations and extensive development rights for Dallas/Fort Worth to Guillermo Perales, the nation's largest Latino franchisee and one of the most pre-eminent multi-brand franchisees in North America.

"Guillermo has reached his stature as one of the most influential Latinos in the business world in part by making wise development choices. Attracting someone with his restaurant expertise and outstanding reputation is a true testament to the current strength of the Arby's brand," says Hala Moddelmog, president of Arby's.

"While Arby's has withstood the test of time for nearly a half century by offering freshly sliced meats for better tasting sandwiches, we've re-energized the brand to drive new customers and loyal fans. The timing has never been better to invest with us. Dallas is the first of several deals we are looking to secure around the country with qualified franchisees like Guillermo."

In addition to remodeling Arby's restaurants purchased in the Dallas/Fort Worth market, Perales has committed to build 15 new Arby's locations over the next five years.

Arby's announcement of the multi-unit franchise transaction with Perales follows seven consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth and the successful introduction of new menu items, including the now-renowned Ultimate Angus Beef.

The agreement also marks the first major franchising announcement since the 48-year-old quick-service restaurant chain was acquired last summer by Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity firm that specializes in investing in franchised companies and brand building. Roark has since assembled for Arby's a new Board of Directors comprised of seasoned franchise and restaurant executives and led by chairman Jon Luther, a veteran of the restaurant industry credited, most recently, for leading the transformation of Dunkin Brands.

"In the year since Arby's became a private company, we've made significant investments in all facets of the business, from research and development of new products to operations and advertising and marketing," Moddelmog says. "As we bring on franchise developers, like Guillermo, to help us grow in markets across the country, we also plan to retain a healthy percentage of company-owned Arby's locations and to continue investing in our brand."

The Arby's deal brings Perales' portfolio to 390 restaurants across several brands that include Popeye's, Golden Corral, Burger King, CiCi's, and Del Taco within his Sun Holdings, LLC restaurant group.

His long list of accolades includes being a recipient of the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the Golden Plate award from Popeye's for operations excellence, the Developer of the Year award from Burger King Corp., and the Hispanic Business Man of the Year award by the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce.

In addition, Perales received the International Business Achievement award by the Dallas Regional Chamber and has been featured multiple times in Latino Leaders magazine's 101 List as one of the most influential Latinos in the United States.

Perales said he was attracted to Arby's for many reasons, specifically pointing to the value of Jon Luther's leadership on the Arby's board and a planned new restaurant image that will debut later this year.

In addition to sound financials, when choosing brands to invest in, Perales also considers a shared mission of community support. As co-founder of the Latin America/DFW Fund that raises money for Latino-based programs and initiatives, president of the International Hispanic Franchisee Association, and a supporter of many programs that encourage Latino students to stay in school, Perales said he felt a synergy with Arby's philanthropic commitment.

Last year alone, the Arby's Foundation, raised $2.2 million for Share our Strength and the No Kid Hungry Campaign to end childhood hunger in America. Each year, Sun Holdings, LLC restaurant group distributes 5 million certificates for free kids meals and 50,000 free meals on Veteran's Day.

"With the Arby's deal, we are joining an iconic brand that has a strong, loyal customer base and a management team that shares our values for community outreach," Perales says. "Arby's consistent sales gains over the past two years and re-energized brand initiatives make it an attractive addition to our portfolio. My experience and knowledge of the Dallas market is an advantage for both parties. We look forward to a long and healthy relationship."

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Growth, News, Arby's