Grandy's Agrees to Franchising Country-Style Restaurants in Far East

Times Staff Writer

Grandy's Fried Chicken, a fast-food chain controlled by Newport Beach restaurateur Anwar Soliman, has signed an agreement with a Malaysian company to open 242 country-style restaurants in the Asian-Pacific region over the next 10 years.

Under the agreement, MBf--one of Asia's largest financial services companies--paid an undisclosed amount of cash to become Grandy's franchisee. MBf will open more than half of the restaurants during the next five years, either as joint ventures with local investors or as sub-franchisee operations, Soliman said.

The restaurants will be in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and the People's Republic of China.

The agreement was signed Thursday after nine months of negotiations.

Based in Texas

Grandy's, based in Lewisville, Tex., is a subsidiary of Soliman's American Restaurant group, which has more than 200 restaurants in 22 states, including half a dozen in Northern California.

Soliman, who once headed W. R. Grace & Co.'s restaurant division, acquired Irvine-based American Restaurant Group in early 1986 as part of a multimillion-dollar purchase of 330 restaurants from Marriott.

In March, Soliman completed his purchases of Del Taco and Naugles, creating the second-largest Mexican fast-food chain with 373 restaurants, most of them in California. At the time, he predicted that his company would become international--a goal he said was realized when the Grandy's agreement was signed Thursday.

"We've gone international with a big bang," Soliman said Friday.

MBf plans to open more than six Grandy's overseas--at a cost of $1 million apiece--by the end of the year, Soliman said. Eventually, the Malaysian company could purchase rights to open Grandy's in Australia and New Zealand, Soliman said.

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