Four new Church's Chicken restaurants are slated to open in the Chattanooga area.
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Restaurants eyed for Chattanooga

American Development Partners (ADP) is proposing to add up to 19 restaurants in Chattanooga from four restaurant chains:

Church’s Chicken

› Corporate headquaters: Atlanta

› Locations: 1,700 plus nationwide

› Local sites: Franchised restaurant in Brainerd

› ADP plans: Four more units


› Corporate headquarters: Tampa, Fla.

› Locations:

› Local sites: Franchised restaurants in East Ridge and Cleveland

› ADP plans: Four more units

Taco John’s

› Corporate headquarters: Cheyenne, Wy.

› Locations: More than 380

› ADP plans: Eight units planned

Dog Haus

› Corporate headquarters: Pasadena, Calif.

› Locations: 21

› ADP plans: Three units planned in Chattanooga, among 300 planned nationwide

Chattanooga is slated for 19 new chain restaurants to be built by a Nashville-area company that builds hundreds of fast food outlets around the country in partnership with large franchisees.

Four Church's Chickens, three Dog Haus gourmet hot dogs, eight Taco John's and four Checkers Drive-Ins are planned for the Chattanooga area, said Caleb McMillen, chief operating officer for American Development Partners (ADP), a Franklin, Tenn., company that designs, builds and funds the construction of chain restaurants around the country.

"We're a large volume, national developer," McMillen said. "We've got deals rolling in 18 states right now."

ADP hasn't yet decided exactly where in Chattanooga the 19 new restaurants will be or when they'll open.

"Due to our extremely thorough site selection process, I do not have locations or dates at this time," McMillen said.

Sometimes, chain restaurants will announce plans to expand in hopes of attracting new franchisees. But large franchisees already have inked deals and paid franchise fees to open new Chattanooga restaurants in partnership with ADP.

For example, Larry Lavigne, a franchisee owner of 25 Jett's Pizzas, including 18 in Tennessee, and businessman Nirav Patel, who owns restaurants in New Jersey and New York, created Volunteer Chicken LLC. It will open 10 new Atlanta-based Church's Chickens over the next five years in the Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville markets in partnership with ADP.

Lavigne also has partnered with businessman Richard Reeves to create Nashville-based Excellent Taco LLC, which is slated to open 20 new Taco John's, a restaurant chain based in Cheyenne, Wyo., over the next four years in the Chattanooga and Nashville markets.

These days, chain restaurants prefer to work with large franchisees who want to take over entire markets, said Van Ingram, vice president of franchise development for,Taco John's International, Inc.

"There are still mom-and-pop franchisees out there, and we'll still do deals with people that want to do one or two stores," Ingram said. "But everyone in the franchising world, everybody that does what I do, is out there looking for that big operator that wants to take down a big area and really dominate a geography."

ADP got nationwide attention last month when it made a deal to buy the land for and construct more than 300 Dog Haus franchise locations in 12 states over the next seven years, making it one of the fastest growing food concepts in the United States.

The first Dog Haus opened six years ago in Pasadena, Calif., and its founders decided to franchise it in 2013. It's slogan, "the absolute wurst," is a pun on the German word for sausage, it sells craft beer and a news release says it was "conceptualized to elevate the humble hot dog, sausage and burger for the adult palate."

"Some have speculated that it was the largest deal of its type ever done in the U.S., so that got a lot of buzz," McMillen said.

The specter of competition doesn't frighten Susan Wybenga, owner/operator of Good Dog, a locally owned restaurant on Frazier Avenue on Chattanooga that serves all-beef hot dogs, veggie dogs and hand-cased sausages with house-made toppings along with hand-cut frites, or fries.

"In all things "food", there are mom-and-pop, one-of-a-kind, local restaurants and there are major chains," she said. "I believe that there is a place for all of us and I believe that the customers who place their value and support in local businesses will continue to do so."

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at or or or 423-757-6651.