Dunkin' Donuts announced today it has signed its first Southern California multiunit store development agreements with four franchise groups for a total commitment of 45 new restaurants. The first standalone restaurants are expected to open in 2015 in Orange and Los Angeles counties. Some non-traditional locations may open sooner, within the next several months.

In January, Dunkin' Donuts began recruiting multiunit operators for Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, Ventura and Orange counties, with a long-term goal of having more than 15,000 restaurants in the U.S. In addition to traditional restaurants, the company is actively identifying franchisees to open a wide range of non-traditional venues including colleges, universities, casinos, military bases, supermarkets, airports and travel centers.

Frontier Group, led by local businessmen Dan Almquist and Robert Jonas, signed the company's first California development agreement to develop 18 restaurants in Central Orange County and the South Bay Coastal region of Los Angeles County.

Gary Haar, an existing Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins franchisee with six locations in New Jersey, and his partner, Steve Silverstein, will develop 10 restaurants throughout the Westside, Santa Monica, Hollywood and Malibu in Los Angeles County.

Danny and Coby Sonenshine, founders of Prell Restaurant Group, plan to develop 16 restaurants in central Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley.

Also, existing franchisees Jason Duffy and Bert Hayenga will develop a location in the Barstow Station building in Barstow.

"We have had an overwhelming response by prospective franchisees interested in opening Dunkin' Donuts restaurants in Southern California, and we are delighted to see both existing and new franchisee groups, each of whom has tremendous business experience, bring Dunkin' Donuts to The Golden State," said Paul Twohig, president, Dunkin' Donuts U.S. & Canada. "Our continued focus on franchisee profitability and restaurant economics has made our long-awaited expansion into California possible, and we continue to believe that Dunkin' Donuts has tremendous domestic growth opportunities both east and west of the Mississippi."

As the company develops in Southern California, it will continue to look for qualified, multiunit franchise candidates. For a limited time, special development incentives are available, including reduced royalty fees in the early years and a $10,000 local store marketing contribution by the company for qualifying franchisees.

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