NEW ORLEANS, LA--(Marketwire - Aug 16, 2011) - VooDoo BBQ & Grill, a Louisiana-based restaurant franchisor, will open five restaurants in the Texas capital city of Austin, continuing an aggressive national expansion.
VooDoo recently signed a deal with Magic Restaurant Group, Inc., to open the locations within five years. Austin is ideal; the nation's 14th-largest city is a hub for young professionals who love VooDoo BBQ's competition-style barbecue, fast-casual setting and New Orleans flair.
"We're excited to establish a footprint in Texas, where we know people love barbecue. They'll get to experience New Orleans-style flavor and fun and a diverse, exciting menu," said VooDoo CEO Tony Avila.
Magic Restaurant Group is owned by Brent Willits, 52, a former Mississippi River ship captain who manages a racetrack in New Mexico. His daughter Angela will manage the Austin restaurants until Willits and his wife retire and move to Austin.
Willits wanted a franchise to sustain their retirement and saw VooDoo BBQ online. He was impressed with VooDoo's food quality, avid fans and growth potential.
"We were looking for something not just high quality, but something that was on the verge, that could be really big but wasn't so big yet that it required a huge investment," Willits said. "Say 'barbecue,' and everybody thinks about the shack on the corner, and a lot of these places are practically falling down. That's cool and kind of quaint, but it just smells of yesterday, and to me, VooDoo is about tomorrow. I think VooDoo has the potential to be the nationwide barbecue franchise."
Since its first New Orleans location opened in 2002, VooDoo developed several successful franchised restaurants in south Louisiana's competitive culinary arena. An aggressive national expansion includes an agreement for eight restaurants in the Carolinas plus plans for 26 Florida locations and units in the Washington, D.C., area and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Texas is a natural, Avila said.
"Texas has a great tradition of barbecue beef, but VooDoo also offers pulled pork, chicken, sausage, St. Louis-style pork ribs, plus great salads, sandwiches and unique side dishes like corn pudding and sweet potato soufflé," Avila said.
"Trust me -- Austinites are in for a unique experience they'll want to taste over and over again."