ADDISON, Texas (Aug. 23, 2011) - Less than three months after Twin Peaks named former Hooters CEO Rick Akam as its COO, the rapidly expanding Texas-based casual dining chain announced today that an investment group led by top former Hooters executives has signed a series of development agreements to open 35 Twin Peaks restaurants throughout six states over the next 10 years.
The majority partner of the franchise group is Coby Brooks, who until last month had served since 2003 as president and CEO of Atlanta-based Hooters of America, LLC, (HOA). After leaving Hooters of America, LLC last month, Brooks decided to pursue the Twin Peaks opportunity. He will be joined by:
-Joe Hummel, former Executive Vice President of Operations and Purchasing for HOA;
-Roger Gondek, former Vice President of Company Store Operations for HOA;
-Clay Mingus, former Vice President and General Counsel for HOA;
-Jim Tessmer, former Vice President and Controller for HOA;
-Patti Frederick, who served 17 years as Business Administrator to Bob Brooks, owner of HOA from 1984 until his death in 2006, and with the Brooks estate for the past five years.
Hummel, Gondek, Mingus and Tessmer all resigned from Hooters of America last month.
The franchise group will open restaurants in Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee over the next 10 years. The first two restaurants are scheduled to open within 18 months with three to four restaurants to be added each year after that. The total agreement represents more than 2,200 new jobs and includes options on additional restaurant development beyond the first 35.
Named a 2010 “Hot Concept!” by Nation’s Restaurant News, Twin Peaks has 15 locations throughout Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Six more restaurants are slated to open this year in San Antonio, Odessa, Houston, Baton Rouge, Scottsdale and Denver. Each restaurant features made-from-scratch food and ice cold draft beer served by friendly and attractive Twin Peaks Girls in a mountain sports lodge setting.
For Twin Peaks co-founder and CEO Randy DeWitt, the agreement represents a major milestone in the chain’s franchise expansion strategy announced earlier this year. “To have these proven industry pros recognize the potential of Twin Peaks and want to be a part of that growth speaks volumes about the foundation we have put in place,” said DeWitt. “There is no doubt that this will have a major impact on our expansion plans.”
“Their commitment sends a signal to others looking to enter the casual dining field that Twin Peaks offers a tremendous opportunity,” added Director of Franchise Development Shannon Glaser.
The agreement also reunites the last two Hooters of America CEOs under the Twin Peaks brand.
Akam served as CEO of Hooters of America from 1995 to 2003 where he oversaw national expansion of the young chain before turning that position over to Brooks. He then served as COO for Raving Brands and First Watch Restaurants, helping those enterprises improve operational efficiencies and develop a franchising strategy before founding his own restaurant consulting firm in early 2009.
“I have great respect for Rick and his understanding of what it takes to build a national restaurant brand,” said Brooks. “His decision to join the Twin Peaks management team made my decision to pursue this opportunity that much easier. I have certainly been watching Twin Peaks over the years. I like their product, atmosphere and the overall experience they give the consumer. The professionalism and passion that Randy and his team displayed during negotiations only strengthened my resolve to partner with them and become part of their family. Unquestionably, the team I have put in place is poised to rapidly build the Twin Peaks brand in the southeast and make Randy proud of what he has created and cultivated.”