Casual-dining chain Houlihan’s Restaurants is looking to expand its franchising presence with a new scaled down restaurant model that will meet today’s economic climate.
The new Houlihan’s prototype, which has been tested in four markets over the past year, requires lower investment levels and operational costs but still maintains such sophisticated design elements as contemporary fireplaces, original artwork and an open kitchen display.
Established in 1972 and headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, Houlihan’s has nearly 100 locations primarily throughout the Midwest and East Coast. The franchisor is currently seeking multi-unit franchise owners who possess a strong background in full-service restaurants and a genuine passion for the industry.
Each new Houlihan’s location will be approximately 5,600 square feet in size with the capacity to seat about 250 patrons, which is roughly 1,500 square feet less than a pre-recession Houlihan’s franchise unit.
“Our refreshed franchise opportunity allows experienced restaurant operators to invest in a Houlihan’s with a more cost-efficient building and smaller footprint,” Rob Ellis, CFO and Chief Development Officer for Houlihan’s Restaurants, Inc., said in a released statement. “We have carefully designed our new model to encapsulate all the elements of Houlihan’s that make it special, yet removed some of the barriers to investment that existed during the recession and in the years immediately following. We are eager to find the right franchise partners to help expand our brand’s innovative original recipes, fresh ingredients and superior presentation to new markets.”
While often lumped into the “casual dining segment,” Houlihan’s clearly stands out from the pack with an atmosphere that is more oriented to adults and a food and beverage menu that is on par with upscale restaurants, yet affordable, reports RestaurantNews.com. In fact, market research shows that Houlihan’s attracts the most desired customer profiles in the restaurant industry, with a loyal and more affluent customer base than other casual dining brands.
Each new location reportedly will benefit its community by creating 50-75 jobs and generating $1-$2 million in local development contracts. Executives with the company expect 10-15 percent unit growth annually over the next five years. Houlihan’s provides its franchisees support in culinary and purchasing, marketing, pre-opening training and opening, ongoing operational reviews, and recruiting assistance.