California Pizza Kitchen is selling restaurants to experienced, multi-unit operators in U.S. markets, according to a press release issued by the brand Monday. California Pizza Kitchen framed the move as a way to speed up its franchising program, which launched in December 2021.
The brand has about 17 franchised locations open in the U.S. and 44 international franchised stores, out of a total system of 180 restaurants in 10 countries. The chain’s U.S. franchised units, the company said, are concentrated in “airports, casinos, and stadiums.” By selling extant units to multi-unit franchisees, California Pizza Kitchen could attract operators to its system without an upfront development process.
CPK’s strategy has shifted considerably since it exited bankruptcy in late 2020. Since then, the restaurant has focused on franchising, offering a wide array of unit configurations, and has looked to captive dining audiences in airports as a source of customers. In December 2022, the chain appointed board member Jeff Warne as CEO, replacing Jim Hyatt.
In an email to Restaurant Dive, CPK said the markets and specific locations the brand would consider depend on the goals and regional concentrations of potential franchisees, alongside CPK’s overall development plan.