Rita Restaurant Corp. Announces First Don Pablo’s Franchise Partner

Rita Restaurant Corp., parent company of Don Pablo’s, announced today that the Big Tex-Bold Mex restaurant chain will open its first franchise on May 23, 2012. Located at 5911 Fruitville Road in Sarasota, Fla., the Don Pablo’s franchise signifies the brand’s resurgence and the restaurant company’s plans to grow and expand.

“The addition of our first franchisee is another milestone in the renaissance of Don Pablo’s,” said Paul Seidman, president and CEO of Rita Restaurant Corp. “Don Pablo’s is poised for growth and we’re excited to expand the brand corporately and through additional franchise opportunities.”

Franchise Partner Steve Rinehart will oversee the Big Tex-Bold Mex restaurant. This location originally housed Don Pablo’s until 2007. The Tampa Bay area supported a total of four Don Pablo’s restaurants prior to exiting the market in 2007. Before joining the Don Pablo’s team, Rinehart owned and operated an independent restaurant in the exact same location. He decided to franchise with Don Pablo’s after hearing how much customers missed the Don Pablo’s and realizing Sarasota’s need for an authentic Tex-Mex restaurant option. In preparation for the re-opening, the building has been completely renovated and remodeled to match the look and feel of the refreshed Don Pablo’s brand.

Rob Ault will serve as the general manager of the restaurant, along with three assistants who recently completed Don Pablo’s’ eight-week management training program. According to Rinehart, “Rob and his team bring significant restaurant experience with them, and the training program just completed prepared them even further. Our entire team will be welcomed by an existing customer base that’s truly missed having Don Pablo’s in the neighborhood and we couldn’t be more excited to bring back the Tex Mex they’ve been craving.”

Seidman adds, “We are very pleased to welcome Steve and his team to the Don Pablo’s family as our very first franchise partner. Steve is an accomplished businessman who has a solid grasp on the Sarasota market and community and we’re confident that his seasoned operations team will rapidly expand our current fan base.”

Since purchasing Don Pablo’s in 2008, Rita Restaurant Corp. has focused on repositioning and improving the brand, poising the restaurant company for incremental growth. The Don Pablo’s menu has been updated with enhanced value and fresher offerings, including “Loco Deals” – daily value offerings. The restaurant is known for its Tex-Mex dishes, including Sizzlin’ Fajitas, Carnitas, Chimichangas, Enchiladas and Mesquite-Grilled Favorites as well as its freshly-made salsa and six different signature margaritas. All of these Don Pablo’s enhancements have resulted in profitable operations since 2009, positive same-store sales in 2010 and 2011, and positive store level EBITDA for 2009, 2010 and 2011.

The restaurant will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday – Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant telephone number is (941) 312-6994.

Based in Madison, Ga., Rita Restaurant Corp. owns and operates 37 Don Pablo’s restaurants in 15 states and four Hops Grill and Brewery restaurants in three states. The company is owned by funds managed by investment advisor DDJ Capital Management LLC of Waltham, Mass. More information on the restaurants is available at www.donpablos.com and www.hopsrestaurants.com.