A Birmingham, Alabama-based restaurant chain plans to triple its eateries in the Chattanooga area with new sites in East Ridge and Chickamauga, Ga., and others on the drawing board.
Jack's Family Restaurants, a fast-food chain started in 1960, hopes to have eight to 10 units in the area within the next two to three years, said Jim Avery, the company's director of development.
"We like the area," he said. "We're growing and have plans to grow further over the next few years."
* What: Fast-food chain
* Headquarters: Birmingham, Ala.
* Menu: Burgers, chicken, biscuits, shakes
* Restaurants: More than 145
* States: Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Georgia
Source: Jack’s Family Restaurants
Jack's, which offers burgers, chicken, biscuits and shakes, already has locations in Lookout Valley, Fort Oglethorpe and Dalton, Ga., Avery said.
In East Ridge, the company is looking at a tract at 4209 Ringgold Road where the business is doing due diligence on the parcel that it has under an option to buy, he said.
A $2 million project, plans are to start work on the new restaurant by Dec. 1 with an opening about four months later, Avery said. Typically, a Jack's eatery hires about 50 people, he said.
That project is aided by an incentive of up to $600,000 over 20 years awarded by East Ridge based on the sales and property taxes the restaurant expects to generate, Avery said.
City Manager Scott Miller said the Jack's restaurant is located within the area covered by the Border Region District Retail Tourism Act, which is designed to encourage commercial development on the Tennessee side of towns bordering a state line. Bristol and Kingsport are the only other two Tennessee cities with such districts.
Within the district, there are special rules which apply to sales taxes collected from businesses operating there that allow a certain portion to be returned and used for development.
The Jack's is the third restaurant in which East Ridge has used the act to provide incentives, Miller said. In addition, the act was used to attract the Bass Pro Shop at Exit One off Interstate-75.
Use of the incentive for Jack's pays off for the city, Miller said.
The local option sales tax revenue from the business and property taxes from the site over 20 years produces a net gain of $1.7 million for the city, Miller said.
"It's a good addition for East Ridge," he said.
Avery said Jack's officials like the East Ridge site even though it's not near Bass Pro. He said the restaurant will be closer to more households and rooftops.
"Most of the other [restaurants] are toward the interstate," he said. "We feel confident we have a good site."
Jack's, which opened its most recent store in Dalton earlier this year, has one under construction in Chickamauga.
The chain, started in 1960, has grown across the Southeast. It has more than 145 locations in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Georgia.
Contact Mike Pare at email@example.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.