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Church’s Chicken sells 76 company locations

Former Burger King executive heads group buying 70 of the restaurants in Texas.

Church’s Chicken said on Thursday that it has sold 76 company restaurants in a pair of deals to an existing operator and a new franchisee.

The biggest involves the sale of 70 company restaurants in Texas to a new franchisee, Ampler Chicken LLC.

That group, which will become Church’s third largest U.S. franchisee, includes Steve Wiborg, a former Burger King franchisee who in 2010 was tapped to be an executive at the chain. He left three years later.

The group also includes former Burger King franchisee Mike Collins.

“We are committed to making these restaurants an extraordinary experience for guests and team members alike,” Wiborg said in a statement.

Wiborg is executive chairman with Ampler Restaurant Group, a company based in Chicago that operates 40 Burger King locations in Texas, according to the company’s website, which promises “additional relationships to be announced shortly.”

In addition to the 70-unit deal, Church’s said it has sold six company locations in Atlanta, its home market, to Sal Kabiruddin of KSH Chicken Restaurants LLC.

The sale of 76 U.S. locations represents more than a quarter of the company’s 255 company-owned U.S. locations, according to Technomic data. Franchisees operated just more than 900 domestic locations as of the end of 2016.

The chain also operates more than 500 international restaurants.

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