Expansion News—Contours Express, Captain D's, Macaroni Grill, Chili's

Nicholasville, KY-Contours Express, a women's fitness and weight-loss franchise, is quickly gaining muscle nationwide with a total of 200 locations in operation by year's end and heightened interest from entrepreneurs throughout the country.

On average, Contours Express is opening two locations per week across the U.S., with projections calling for at least 500 units in operation by 2006. On the international front, Contours Express recently announced its first location to open in Mexico and its 10th in Canada. -Fishman Public Relations

Nashville, TN-Captain D's Seafood, operator and franchisor of a chain of more than 565 quick-service units, garnered seven franchise agreements to add at least 34 new stores.

Serve Holdings LLC agreed to develop 15 units and take control of 20 company-operated stores in the Memphis area. The company signed an eight-unit franchise deal with National Treasures LLC to add units in the Toledo, Ohio, area. Seahorse Group LLC is slated to add three more Captain D's units in Atlanta, and current Popeyes franchisee David Chunn is adding four units in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Subway franchisee Ashraf Boulos is developing a store in Terrell, Texas, and one in Rockwall, Texas. The company also signed deals with Jim and Valerie McClure to add one restaurant in Dahlonega, Georgia, and with Tom Simms to add a unit in Danville, Kentucky. -Nation's Restaurant News

Vancouver, WA-Waterloo Restaurant Ventures Inc., the only U.S. franchisee of Romano's Macaroni Grill, hired its first ad agency of record as it prepares to launch the initial expansion of the chain in the Pacific Northwest.

JohnsonSheen Advertising of Portland, Oregon, won the account in October and will handle all marketing duties, including media planning and buying, promotions and public relations. Initial media billings of $180,000 are expected to reach more than $1.5 million as restaurants are opened Waterloo became the first franchisee late last year and is expected to announce soon the signing of the first lease in a program to open more than 12 restaurants during the next five years in the Portland and Seattle markets. It has one restaurant now in Boise, Idaho. -Nation's Restaurant News

Dallas-Brinker International Inc. said it signed a franchise and development deal with Strang Hospitality LLC of Cleveland to add up to 25 new Chili's Grill & Bar units.

As part of the deal, Strang acquired four existing Chili's units in the Cleveland and Youngstown, Ohio, areas and will develop 25 new restaurants in those two markets as well as portions of central Ohio and northeastern Pennsylvania.

Brinker operates and franchises more than 1,400 restaurants in 23 countries under a variety of brands, including Maggiano's Little Italy and On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina. -Nation's Restaurant News