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Baja Fresh hires Hopkins to lead franchise development

THOUSAND OAKS Calif. Craig Hopkins has been named vice president of franchise development and real estate for Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, based here.

Hopkins will be responsible for attracting franchise operators for both the 300-unit Baja Fresh and the 101-store La Salsa Fresh Mexican Grill brands. La Salsa recently was acquired by Baja Fresh from Carpinteria, Calif.-based CKE Restaurants Inc., parent of the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. brands. Hopkins formerly was director and vice president of franchise development for CKE.

About 41 La Salsa units and 147 Baja Fresh outlets are franchised.

“Our franchised chains comprise a large amount of our restaurants,” said James Walker, president of Baja Fresh. “We are excited to have an industry veteran like Craig join our team to lead strategic initiatives furthering our franchising and real estate development. His experience will be invaluable to the company as we continue to expand our restaurant chain with the addition of new Baja Fresh corporate and franchise-run restaurants and La Salsas to our repertoire.”

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