Johnny Rockets to Open 100 Units in China

Johnny Rockets has struck a deal to open 100 restaurants in China over the next decade, the chain’s largest development agreement to date, the company said Monday.

The deal is with a joint venture between AUM Hospitality, Johnny Rockets’ franchisee in Malaysia, and Parkson Retail Group Ltd., a Malaysian department store operator with a network of about 60 stores in China.

The focus will be on opening Johnny Rockets in Parkson-owned malls, as well as other malls and retail centers in Shanghai and Beijing, the company said. The first unit is expected to open in 2016.

Scott Chorna, Johnny Rockets’ senior vice president of international development, said the partnership was an ideal way for the Americana-themed brand to enter the China market.

“With AUM Hospitality’s success in the food and beverage industry and Parkson Retail Group’s proven track record in operating major retail outlets, this is an ideal partnership for Johnny Rockets’ entry into China,” he said in a statement. “Moreover, there is a strong demand in China for American brands, as well as a growing middle-class population with more spending power.

“Our partners have a keen sense of consumer preferences and shopping habits,” Chorna added. “While they will be showcasing Johnny Rockets’ all-American menu, including our world-famous made-to-order hamburgers and hand-spun shakes, as well as our unique signature guest experience that includes dancing servers, they will also be able to offer regional tastes and flavors to our extensive menu items.”

Based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., the 330-unit Johnny Rockets chain has been building its international presence in recent years. With more than 125 units outside the U.S., it aims to double that number by 2017.

In Asia, Johnny Rockets has locations in Malaysia, Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Johnny Rockets was acquired by private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners Inc. in 2013.

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