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Chains look to link up

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  • | 11:00 a.m. March 4, 2016
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Smoothies, pizzas and pretzels.

Those are some of the freshest products from franchise chains with growth plans in the Tampa area and potentially other Gulf Coast markets. The specific companies are Smoothie King, Toppers Pizza and Philly Pretzel Factory.

All three entities have likely noticed Tampa's surge in national rankings. The latest comes from hospitality trade publication QSR Magazine, which pegs Tampa as the sixth-best large city in the country for market opportunities in the quick-service segment. The publication uses proprietary research from the NPD Group, which studies population growth and quick-service restaurant density in a given market. The top large region for market opportunities in the country, according to QSR, is Minneapolis-St. Paul. The top five large list includes Miami-Fort Lauderdale and the Orlando area, and the Fort Myers-Naples region placed seventh on the medium market list.

Officials with Philadelphia-based Philly Pretzel Factory say Tampa and Naples are great spots for the chain to expand. The company, a bakery with made-on-the-premises pretzels, has more than 100 locations nationwide, but only three in Florida, including one in Polk County near Legoland. Tampa in particular, says Chief Development Officer Tom Monaghan, “represents a major opportunity for us.”

The Naples store is scheduled to open later this year, on Vanderbilt Beach Road, and Philly Pretzel Factory is scouting for sites and franchisees in Tampa. Monaghan says the chain aims to have about a store per every 150,000 people in a market, with a particular focus on higher income levels and a mix of seasonal and fulltime residents. It hopes to open 10 stores in the region in the near future.

“Our market has grown from being only a place where a mom will stop for a snack for a kid,” Monaghan tells Coffee Talk. New markets include catering for parties and corporate events.
New Orleans-based Smoothie King also sees potential in the Gulf Coast. “There is a huge health and wellness trend out there right now,” says Smoothie King Franchise Development Manager Christine Elam. “And we will hit on those.”

And finally there's Whitewater, Wis.-based Toppers Pizza. The chain, with locations in 12 states and national growth ambitions, is currently looking for franchisees in the Tampa area.


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