Foodservice Equipment Reports

Freshii Eyes Big Growth

The health-focused fast-casual chain Freshii will open three Chicago-area restaurants in the next three months, continuing a fast-paced expansion that could bring to 30 the number of local locations by the end of the year. There are 18 Freshii outlets in the Chicago area now.

The 10-year-old Toronto-based chain hopes to open 120 stores this year. Currently, it has more than 160 units in 60 cities. The chain was founded as Lettuce Eatery in 2005 and expanded to Chicago two years later after changing its name to Freshii and starting a franchise arm.

The Chicago market is a hot one for health-focused chains. Locally based Protein Bar just opened its 13th area store and plans to grow to 40 stores by year-end. Snap Kitchen, which has 20 stores in Austin, Dallas and Houston, is opening three stores there this spring.

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