John McGrath, owner of JEM Restaurant Group, at a Goose Creek restaurant that's among his properties. McGrath's company has bought 40 Pizza Huts in Alabama, Georgia and Florida.,
John McGrath, owner of JEM Restaurant Group, at a Goose Creek restaurant that's among his properties.
McGrath's company has bought 40 Pizza Huts in Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
Despite the sour economy, fast-food restaurant operator John McGrath is grabbing a bigger slice of the pie.
The Mount Pleasant resident said Tuesday that his
Charleston-based JEM Restaurant Group
has added to its quick-serve dining stable by snapping up 40 Pizza Hut locations in Georgia, Alabama and northeast Florida.
company also owns and operates Taco Bell franchises.
"This is a very unique opportunity in a very difficult operating environment," McGrath
said in a statement.
"We believe the Pizza Hut
and Taco Bell brands are well-positioned in the marketplace, and our parent company, Yum Brands, has excellent leadership at its helm."
In an interview, McGrath
added: "This segment of the economy is countercyclical.
I have no reservations about an acquisition such as this."
said cash-strapped families still want to eat out and that they are looking more to fast-food restaurants over pricier dining segments to save money.
"It's a fairly simple formula," McGrath
also said it could take more than a year before economic conditions start to improve.
"The pipeline is cash, and this is the first time that it has been snapped," McGrath
believes the timing of his
expansion is good because Pizza Hut
introduced lasagna to its menu last week, adding a new item that also can be delivered.
also bullish about the future look of Pizza Huts across the country, such as the one that opened in January on U.S. Highway 52 in Goose Creek.
The image update calls for a sports-bar atmosphere, with large screen TVs and team paraphernalia on the walls.
In addition, he
said, a new marketing campaign is set to kick off later this year for Pizza Hut's
WingStreet line to promote the chain's different types of chicken wings.
newly acquired restaurants included nine each in Columbus, Ga., and Jacksonville, Fla.
JEM now operates more than 100 Taco Bell and Pizza Hut franchises in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida, McGrath
"I had a long-term goal of getting over 100," said McGrath
, who started the business in 1998 after acquiring 13 local Taco Bells.
hopes to add more Taco Bell and Pizza Hut franchises as opportunities arise.