McAlister's® Deli, signed an agreement with existing franchise group Southwest Deli to open eight locations in Arizona, including the markets of Tucson, Yuma and Flagstaff, Ariz. The first of the new locations is expected to open in late 2015 with additional locations to open each year thereafter. McAlister's Deli currently has one Arizona restaurant located in Scottsdale, with an additional location under development in Peoria, slated to open in November 2014. 


"We are excited about the brand's accelerated growth and expansion throughout Arizona and especially our continued growth with Southwest Deli," said McAlister's Chief Development Officer Jeff Sturgis. "McAlister's has experienced great success in the Southwest and there are ample opportunities to expand our footprint across the region through franchise development. Southwest Deli consistently is recognized as one of our top franchisees, so we are confident the team will build a loyal fan base throughout these communities."

Southwest Deli currently operates 19 McAlister's restaurants in Texas and New Mexico. The group has a development plan in place for five states, including continued growth in Texas and New Mexico, as well as new territories in Utah, Idaho and Arizona. This year, Southwest Deli opened restaurants in Abilene and Andrews, Texas, as well as Carlsbad, N.M., and has plans to open three additional locations this year in Texas.

"Arizona has proven to be a successful market for McAlister's, making it the perfect location to develop additional restaurants," said Larry Lee, owner of Southwest Deli. "We are looking forward to bringing McAlister's Famous Sweet Tea™, sandwiches, soups and spuds to the local communities of Tucson, Yuma and Flagstaff."

Technomic® recognized McAlister's twice in its Chain Restaurant Consumers' Choice Awards — in 2014 as the top kid-friendly fast casual chain and in 2013 as the top fast casual chain for food and beverage. This year, Nation's Restaurant News named McAlister's the top limited-service sandwich chain in its Consumer Picks Survey. Also in 2014, QSR Magazine recognized the brand as one of the "Best Franchise Deals" and named McAlister's to its QSR 50 list, ranking 13th for U.S. average sales per unit in 2013. also recognized the brand on its "Top 100 Movers and Shakers" list of 2014 and named McAlister's President and CEO Frank Paci one of the "Top 25 People" in the industry to watch.