The latest happenings at Tony Roma's and Gumbusters North America Inc.
- Romacorp Inc. is hoping Tony Roma's won't just be famous for ribs anymore. The chain has created an alternative experience to its more than 200 restaurants worldwide. Tony Roma's "Rib Grills," which offer a more casual dining experience and a new menu of flame-grilled entrees, have already experienced a visit frequency 30 percent higher than traditional Tony Roma's restaurants. Rib Grills were released to franchisees in the summer of 1999; so far, two franchise units and 16 company-owned stores are in operation and six to eight are in development, while another 20 units are expected to open over the next 18 months. Franchisee Andy Gladstein, for one, had 1999 annualized sales of $3.2 million and projects 2000 sales of $3.3 million for his Indianapolis-based Rib Grill. Start-up costs average $1.5 million.
- "Lethal to gum, but friendly to the environment" according to one of their mottos, Gumbusters North America Inc. is hoping to gain 18 new franchises in 2000, its first year in business. The subsidiary of InnoCleaning Concepts is offering franchisees exclusive territories with little to no competition. Start-up costs range from $37,000 to $130,000, depending on the size of the territory, and include a week of training at the headquarters as well as other support.