Houlihan's Steps Up Franchise Expansion Plans With New Prototype Model

Modern Restaurant & Bar Brand Maintains Distinct Personality in Smaller Footprint

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - April 8, 2014 // GLOBE NEWSWIRE // - Houlihan's Restaurants, an American restaurant and bar known for its indie spirit, social bar scene and adaptable menu for modern lifestyles, is looking to expand its presence through franchising with a new restaurant model suited for today's economic climate.

The new Houlihan's prototype model, which has been tested in four markets over the past year, has been re-engineered to maximize a franchisee's unit-level economics, lower their investment level and operational costs, yet will continue to weave together sophisticated design elements such as contemporary fireplaces, original artwork and an open kitchen display.

"Our refreshed franchise opportunity allows experienced restaurant operators to invest in a Houlihan's with a more cost-efficient building and smaller footprint," said Rob Ellis, CFO and Chief Development Officer for Houlihan's Restaurants, Inc. "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 affordably priced. 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.

Investment levels for the new prototype range from $1.4-1.8 million for a restaurant conversion and $2.4-2.7 million for a freestanding, ground-up construction. Built for maximum unit level economics, each new Houlihan's location will be approximately 5,600 square feet in size with the capacity to seat 180 guests inside and 50-75 on the patio. The new model is approximately 1,500 less square feet and has a significantly lower investment level than the pre-recession Houlihan's franchise opportunity.

Each new location 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 is currently seeking sophisticated, multi-unit franchise partners in territories from the Midwest to the East Coast who possess a strong background in full-service restaurants and a genuine passion for the industry. Qualified franchise partners will value the support system at Houlihan's that offers culinary and purchasing support, custom marketing support, pre-opening training and opening support, ongoing operational reviews, and recruiting assistance upon request.

About Houlihan's

Established in 1972, Houlihan's has nearly 100 locations, primarily throughout the Midwest and the eastern United States. An American restaurant and bar that "feeds your lifestyle," Houlihan's menu features center-cut steaks, fresh seafood entrees, baked-to-order flatbreads and artisan salads and sandwiches along with an interesting, everyday wine and cocktail selection. Houlihan's offers dishes in both small and large portions and is dedicated to developing menu options that address ever-evolving consumer lifestyles -- be it meatless, organic, or smaller portioned items. The restaurants feature design-forward finishes and architectural elements and a custom, curated playlist that changes monthly; many locations feature display kitchens, original artwork, and patios designed for social lounging. Houlihan's is privately owned by Houlihan's Restaurants, Inc. which developed and owns several restaurant concepts including Bristol Seafood Grill, Devon Seafood + Steaks and J. Gilbert's Wood-Fired Steaks & Seafood. The company is headquartered in the Kansas City metro area. For more information on franchise opportunities, please visit www.houlihans.com/franchise.

SOURCE Houlihan's

Media Contact:

Lindsey Warriner
Fishman Public Relations
847.945.1300
lwarriner@fishmanpr.com

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