Charlotte-based Bojangles’ said Thursday it will expand its presence in Pennsylvania, marking further growth outside its main markets in the South.
The chicken-and-biscuits chain signed a multi-unit franchise agreement with an operator called Bo Forever, the company said in a statement. According to the agreement, Bo Forever will open four new restaurants over the next four years in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley area, with potential sites in Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and Quakertown, Pa.
The announcement comes as Bojangles’ largest shareholder, private equity firm Advent International, and other investors are selling 6 million shares through a secondary offering.
Bojangles’ said Wednesday that the shares had been priced at $17.25 in an offering expected to close Dec. 6. Banks underwriting the offering have an option to purchase up to an additional 900,000 shares over a 30-day window.
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Advent will continue to own a controlling interest in the company after the share sale, according to a securities filing. The company itself will not receive any proceeds from the offering.
Bojangles’ shares fell less than 1 percent Thursday to close at $17.80. The shares are down more than 11 percent this week.
Pennsylvania growth marks Bojangles’ latest foray into the Northeast – it operates one other restaurant in Reading, Pa. When the fast-food chain went public in 2015, management had laid out an expansion plan to fill in its core in the Carolinas, then gradually spread into adjacent markets. Most of Bojangles’ 699 restaurants are in the Southeast.
“Our brand is growing and we anticipate entering several new markets over the next few years,” said Randy Icard, Bojangles’ vice president of franchise development.
Last month, Bojangles’ unveiled a new design concept for its restaurants, with plans to roll out the look in Charlotte and other locations. The Charlotte-based fast-food chain said among features of the new look is a “Biscuit Theater,” where customers can watch staff make biscuits every 20 minutes.