Freshii, a Chicago-based restaurant chain that plans to triple its 16-location U.S. presence in the coming year, has a new franchise owner in Philadelphia.


Goel Management, also Chicago-based, purchased the master franchise rights for the Philadelphia region mid-December, according to media reports, and has plans to open up to 30 locations.


“Philadelphia is the fifth-largest media market in the U.S. but has surprisingly few healthy eating options compared to many other large cities,” Sumeet Goel, chief executive officer of Goel Management, told the Philadelphia Business Journal.


The restaurant chain, which relies heavily on fresh-cut produce in lieu of kitchen space and kitchen workers, also has plans for expansion in New York City, Chicago, Colorado, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Eastern Europe, according to the Business Journal and other media reports.


Javier Bueno, chief financial officer and general manager of Houston-based Third Coast Produce, and his wife Teresa purchased the master franchise agreement for the Houston market, and has plans to open at least 20 stores. Javier Bueno said his affiliation with Monterey, Calif.-based Pro*Act could help add value to Freshii’s distribution strategy by being able to service the concept’s produce nationwide through a single point of contact.


Freshii restaurants serve salads, wraps, rice bowls, noodle bowls, soups and burritos, and uses organic ingredients when feasible.