Damon's Grill Signs Multi-unit Development Deals For Michigan, New Jersey And Pennsylvania

COLUMBUS, OHIO | Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Damon's Grill has finalized development deals with two multi-unit operators who plan to open 13 new restaurants. The agreements are the first to be announced since Damon's launched a major franchising initiative in May. Veteran restaurant developers and operators Mark Janes and Lee Chappell of the DMA Food Group will build 10 restaurants throughout Michigan, with the majority located in the eastern part of the state, including Detroit. DMA Food Group is based in Michigan. Pennsylvania real estate and restaurant developer GEM, LLC signed an agreement to open one restaurant in eastern Pennsylvania and two in western New Jersey. Earlier this year Damon's announced it had signed two development agreements for a total of seven new northern and central New Jersey restaurants. Both organizations selected Damon's after researching a number of casual dining concepts. "Having worked in the industry for more than 20 years, I was aware of the Damon's brand, but we didn't realize how much it had changed until we began looking to invest in a casual chain," said Mark Janes, president, DMA Food Group. "We like the financial performance of the new prototype, and the concept is distinctly different from the other casual dining chains." Janes and Lee Chappell, DMA Food Group vice president, have extensive restaurant and chain experience. Janes is a former 10-unit Little Caesar's franchisee and served on the chain's National Franchise Advisory Panel. Chappell's experience includes working for Metromedia's S&A Restaurant Corp., Don Pablo's Mexican Kitchen and Paragon Steakhouse Partners, where he served as regional vice president of operations. DMA Food Group plans to open its first Damon's Grill next spring. Damon's currently has 15 franchised locations in Michigan. "What really sold us on Damon's is the quality of the operations we experienced first-hand in several franchised restaurants," said GEM, LLC principal Ed Coleman. "As we talked with the Damon's management team, it became clear that they provide their franchisees with the kind of operational and training support that will help us ensure success." GEM operates a number of restaurants including Sbarro and Au Bon Pain. It plans to open its first Damon's in mid-2003. "These two groups are the types of franchisees who will help us grow into a 300-unit chain," said Shannon Foust, Damon's president and CEO. "They both have extensive experience in multi-unit operations and have a deep commitment to running quality restaurants. Given the number of casual dining chains out there, we are delighted that they chose Damon's Grill." In May, Damon's launched a major franchise development initiative designed to double the number of restaurants over the next several years. Damon's is targeting more multi-unit restaurant operators who are looking to expand their portfolios. The new recruitment program follows nearly three years of work to reshape the chain and prepare it for growth. With more than 140 company and franchised locations worldwide, Damon's Restaurants, Inc. is a leading full-service, casual dining restaurant that emphasizes grilled steaks, chicken and seafood, salads and Damon's award- winning ribs. Guests enjoy a quiet dining room or Damon's high-energy Clubhouse that features a state-of-the-art multi-screen entertainment system offering sports, network programming and interactive games. Founded in 1979, Damon's Restaurants, Inc. is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.

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Damon's International
4645 Executive Dr.
Columbus, OH

Phone: (614)442-7900
Fax: (614)273-3121

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