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Drury adds Qdoba franchises to operations roster

CHARLOTTE N.C. Former Bojangles principal and chief executive Joe Drury has formed a new company with other alumni of the fried-chicken chain to buy 18 franchised Qdoba Mexican Grills in North Carolina and Tennessee.

The deal also provides the newly formed concern, QCarolina Restaurants LLC, with development rights within those states. QCarolina said in a statement that it intends to open five Qdoba outlets per year.

Drury sold his controlling interest in Bojangles in September 2007 to an investment group that included former Hardee’s kingpin and Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson.

The degree of Drury’s day-to-day involvement in QCarolina was not clear. Serving as president and chief executive of the newly formed company is Tom Lewison, who is a former president and chief operating officer of Bojangles. Lewison also is an investor, along with restaurant-industry veterans Bill Branstrom and Keith Stoneman.

Drury and at least some of the other owners of QCarolina are also operators of other restaurant concepts. The investors’ other holdings include Piedmont Pizzeria, a North Carolina franchisee of Donatos Pizza, and JF Restaurants LLC, the owner of seven restaurants operating under the name Just Fresh Kitchen Bistro and Just Fresh Express.

Qdoba consists of more than 400 restaurants in 40 states. The brand is owned by Jack in the Box Inc., which operates or franchises 2,100 namesake burger restaurants in 18 states.

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