Houlihan's Restaurants, an American restaurant and bar known for its indie spirit, social bar scene, and menu adaptable for modern lifestyles, is looking to expand its presence through franchising with a new restaurant model suited for today's economic climate.

The new Houlihan's prototype model, which has been tested in four markets over the past year, has been re-engineered to maximize a franchisee's unit-level economics, lower his or her investment level and operational costs, and continue to weave together sophisticated design elements such as contemporary fireplaces, original artwork, and an open kitchen display.

"Our refreshed franchise opportunity allows experienced restaurant operators to invest in a Houlihan's with a more cost-efficient building and smaller footprint," says Rob Ellis, CFO and chief development officer for Houlihan's Restaurants, Inc. "We have carefully designed our new model to encapsulate all the elements of Houlihan's that make it special, yet removed some of the barriers to investment that existed during the recession and in the years immediately following. 

He adds that Houlihan's is eager to find the right franchise partners.

According to Houlihan's, market research shows that the brand attracts the most desired customer profiles in the restaurant industry, with a loyal and more affluent customer base than other casual dining brands.

Investment levels for the new prototype range from $1.4 million to $1.8 million for a restaurant conversion and $2.4 million to $2.7 million for a freestanding, ground-up construction. Built for maximum unit level economics, each new Houlihan's location will be approximately 5,600 square feet in size with the capacity to seat 180 guests inside and 50-75 on the patio. The new model is approximately 1,500 fewer square feet and has a significantly lower investment level than the pre-recession Houlihan's franchise opportunity.

Each new location will benefit its community by creating 50-75 jobs and generating $1 million to $2 million in local development contracts. Executives with the company expect 10-15 percent unit growth annually over the next five years.

Houlihan's is currently seeking sophisticated, multi-unit franchise partners in territories from the Midwest to the East Coast who possess a strong background in full-service restaurants and a genuine passion for the industry. 

Casual Dining, Chain Restaurants, Industry News, NextGen Casual, Restaurant Design, Houlihan's