Uno Restaurant Holdings has signed a franchise deal to open 30 fast-casual Uno Dué Go concepts across Texas.
Termed the largest franchise agreement in Uno’s history, the deal was signed with Dallas-based FGR Food Corp., which opened the first two Uno Dué Go restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport three years ago.
The fast-casual concept features signature pizzas from Uno’s Chicago Grill, the company’s casual-dining chain, as well as flatbreads, paninis and other sandwiches, salads, snacks, coffee and grab-and-go goods with a focus on healthful items.
It also sells beer, wine and assorted baked goods, including “adult muffins,” which are alcohol-free treats made to taste like Uno’s most popular cocktails, such as its Pomegranate Margarita.
Uno’s chief executive Frank Guidara predicts the pizza-oriented concept will do “extraordinarily well in the fast-casual space.”
Guidara, who previously was president of Boston-based bakery-café chain Au Bon Pain, said he was approached by FGR, which operated Au Bon Pain franchises at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, and asked if Uno had a concept that would work in new spaces that were available at DFW.
As a result, Uno developed and launched the Uno Dué Go concept, which performed well enough to convince FGR to sign a deal to operate throughout Texas, Guidara said.
Compass Group also operates two Uno Dué Go units — one at the University of Wisconsin’s Whitewater Campus and the other at the University of Cleveland.
Guidara said the first company-owned unit, which would serve as the fledgling chain’s flagship, would open by mid-October in the Downtown Crossing area of Boston.
He added that the Boston location would source local products and would be a cornerstone of the concept going forward.
FGR does not source locally due to the logistics of operating in an airport, he said, but they plan to do so as they open in hospitals, stadiums and various suburban locations throughout Texas.
Guidara said negotiations are underway with other potential franchisees to open Uno Dué Go in another airport, and that four or five other franchise deals were “in discussion.”
Uno Restaurant Holdings, based in West Roxbury, Mass., is the parent of three concepts: 150-unit Uno’s Chicago Grill, Uno Dué Go, and quick-service chain Uno’s Express.
Franchisees of Uno Dué Go must have a net worth of $600,000 per unit and at least $300,000 in liquid capital. The initial fee is $25,000 per location, plus $5,000 per location as an area development fee.
Uno Chicago Grill franchisees must have $1 million net worth per restaurant and at least $750,000 in liquid capital. Initial fees and area development fees are $40,000 and $10,000, respectively. Royalties for both concepts are 5 percent of gross sales.