Wienerschnitzel restaurant on Broadway Road in Tucson.

PHOENIX-Galardi Group Inc., owner and operator of the Wienerschnitzel hot dog chain, wants to expand even further in Arizona. To that end, the southern California company wants to open between three and five more restaurants throughout Arizona within the next 12 to 18 months.

Galardi Group is targeting Tucson for its first expansion, pulling in Phoenix-based Velocity Retail Group to help find the ideal space. Prototypes real estate requirements include an end-cap space (with drive-through) between 1,800 square feet and 2,200 square feet; average incomes of $80,000 within a one-mile radius, intersections with an established retail core and multipad developments with complementary tenants.  On the leasing end, Gilardi Group prefers 10-year initial terms for existing facilities or new-build opportunities.

Velocity executive vice president Darren Pitts, who is leading the team on the charge to find space, says other desirable locations would be 1) near business corridors to handle the business lunch crowds and 2) near residences with value-oriented families.  “Tucson has areas that combines both those demographics,” he says. “Tucson is homogenous in that regard.”

He tells that Gilardi Group, which has a fairly strong presence already in Arizona through already existing Wienerschnitzel restaurants as well as its Hamburger Stand and Tastee-Freez concepts, has selected now to expand, especially in Tucson, because of an increasingly stable economy. Weinerschnitzels tend to do well in peripheral markets such as Tucson, he adds.

Furthermore, the Arizona market in 2009-2010 was soft, with 2011 and 2012 seeing good growth and strength. Tucson, especially, is starting to come back very well. “Real estate is still relatively inexpensive,” Pitts says. “They’re seeing the sales of current stores as strong, and are viewing it as an opportunity to grow.”