Meritage Hospitality Group Inc. in Grand Rapids, a large restaurant operator and developer, today announced it has entered into an area development agreement to build 50 Taco John’s eateries in the U.S., with options to develop an additional 150 locations.
The company estimates it will invest approximately $100 million in the initial 50 store roll-out through a combination of cash on hand and credit facilities by March 31, 2026.
In addition, the agreement grants Meritage exclusive development rights to multiple states and provides for significant economic incentives, subject to the company fulfilling its development schedule.
“We are excited about this new partnership with Taco John’s and look forward to launching development in our home market of west Michigan with new store openings beginning in 2022,” says Gary A. Rose, president and COO of Meritage. “We were initially attracted to the brand by the made-to-order quality food, drive thru service, and significant new development opportunities, all of which align with our core competencies.”
Established in Cheyenne, Wyo., in 1969, Taco John’s is a 52-year-old brand that offers Mexican quick-service menu items. The offerings include multiple tacos and burritos, along with a chicken snack quesadilla, cinnamon sugar tortilla crisps, spicy chicken and potato griller, potato oles, Mexican donut bites, a taco salad, and more.
With nearly 400 restaurants, the brand has undergone significant enhancements in the last few years including a new executive management team and a rebranding campaign in preparation for added growth. Taco John’s offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Meritage multi-state area development agreement is the largest development deal in Taco John’s history.
Meritage currently operates 345 restaurants through five brands — Wendy’s, Morning Belle, Stan’s Tacos, Twisted Rooster, and Freighters. The company is the nation’s largest Wendy’s franchisee, where it began its restaurant development and operations expertise by purchasing 23 Wendy’s in 1998.
The company has approximately 11,500 employees in 16 states. Meritage estimates it will add approximately 1,250 employees with the development of the initial 50 Taco John’s restaurants.
The company’s current and publicly available information pursuant to SEC Rule 15c2-11 and FINRA Rule 6432 can be found at www.otcmarkets.com, under the stock symbol MHGU/Disclosures or the Company’s website, www.meritagehospitality.com.