Franchising Continues to Increase as Demand For Einstein Bros.(R) Bagels Brand Grows Nationwide

New-Product Development, Health-Based Initiatives and Innovative Marketing Campaigns Fuel Investor Excitement to Open New Einstein Bros. Bagels Locations in Additional Markets

March 04, 2010 // Franchising.com // Lakewood, Colo. — Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: BAGL), a leader in the quick-casual segment of the restaurant industry, is opening new franchise territories nationwide as demand builds among local investors to be part the Einstein Bros. Bagels brand.

Leading the way in new-product launches, healthful meal options and innovative marketing programs, the brand is targeting the Greater Denver Area, including Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, Dallas/Fort Worth, Atlanta and Baltimore/Washington, D.C., for growth through franchising.

"We are in a growth mode, and the recent openings of new locations and signed multi-unit franchise agreements confirm that demand for our brand continues to build," said Jeff O'Neill, chief executive officer of Einstein Noah Restaurant Group. "We want to be the fastest growing fast-casual restaurant chain in America, and with the innovative programs we've initiated that goal is well within reach."

As of January 8, 2010, the company has signed 14 multi-unit franchise agreements, which, when fully developed, represent a total of 57 additional stores. The first two franchise locations opened in Jacksonville, Fla., and Rogers, Ark., in 2008. Additional franchise locations opened in 2009 in Texas and Georgia.

Einstein Bros. Bagels plans to open 12-16 franchise locations in 2010 in addition to opening 10-12 corporate stores. Momentum also continues to build for opening new licensed locations. Einstein Bros. opened 31 licensed locations in 2009 and plans to exceed that number this year.

Excitement for the franchise opportunity is being spurred by recent new-product launches, including Bagel Poppers and Twisted Bagels, the Lighter Fare Menu and the offering of Activia yogurt parfaits. Einstein Bros. Bagels also is the first nationwide chain to sell gluten-free bagels, available in certain test markets.

"In addition to creating interest with new products, our innovative marketing programs including the First 100 Breakfast Giveaway at grand openings and the bagel giveaway on Facebook have exceeded our expectations and are drawing heightened interest among local investors," O'Neill said.

With more than 350 company-owned restaurants and 180-plus licensed locations, Einstein Bros. has built a strong presence and loyal following throughout the United States.

Enjoying brand awareness well beyond what is typical for a chain of its size, Einstein Bros. Bagels is well-positioned in three of the strongest growing areas for the restaurant industry: the fast-casual segment, the breakfast daypart and the fresh/healthy segment, where Einstein Bros, has the reputation of providing fresh and healthy meals. Einstein Bros. was named one of the healthiest QSR chains in America by Health Magazine in March 2009.

Known for its award-winning bagels and shmear varieties, made-to-order breakfast and lunchtime sandwiches, five different flavors of Darn Good Coffee®, hearty soups, fresh innovative salads, baked goods and decadent desserts, Einstein Bros. Bagels has secured its distinctive place among competitors in the rapidly expanding fast casual restaurant category. Moreover, the brand's trendy restaurant decor and contemporary atmosphere is designed to attract a loyal guest base that can feel at home while dining.

About Einstein Noah Restaurant Group

Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc. is a leading company in the quick casual restaurant industry that operates and licenses locations primarily under the Einstein Bros.® and Noah's New York Bagels® brands and primarily franchises locations under the Manhattan Bagel brand. The company's retail system consists of more than 600 restaurants in 36 states and the District of Columbia. It also operates a dough production facility. The company's stock is traded on the NASDAQ under the symbol BAGL.

Forward-looking statements

This release contains forward-looking statements relating to the opening of company-owned, franchise and license stores, including statements regarding the number of stores that Einstein Bros. will open for each segment in 2010. These forward looking statements, as well as the underlying estimates and assumptions relating to such statements, are based on currently available operating, financial and competitive information and are subject to a number of significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially depending on a variety of factors including but not limited to the following: reaching agreements with prospective licensees and franchisees, the ability of Einstein Bros., licensees and franchisees to find suitable locations, reach acceptable lease terms, have adequate capital or obtain acceptable financing, find available contractors, build the locations, obtain licenses and permits, locate and train staff appropriately and open new restaurants. Additional risks are detailed in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the "Risk Factors" section of the Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc. Annual Report on Form 10-K and the Quarterly Reports on 10-Q The company assumes no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements.

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