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AUSTIN-Fired Up Inc., the company that franchises Johnny Carino’s Country Italian restaurants, has added another experienced entrepreneur to its board of directors. Franklin Carson, the new director, owns 21 Applebee’s restaurants in Tampa and owns Johnny Carino’s franchises.

He joins Creed Ford and Norman Abdallah, Johnny Carino’s co-CEOs and founders, Ronnie Wallace, former president of Ben E. Keith Foods, and Chili’s founder Larry Lavine on the board. Carson is a member of the board of the Florida Restaurant Association and former director of franchising for Applebee’s.

Austin-based Fired Up operates and franchises 33 Johnny Carino’s casual dining restaurants, a Johnny Carino’s Pizzeria, two Gumbo’s Louisiana Style Cafes and the Brown Bar. The company says it has agreements to develop more than 200 Johnny Carino’s in 15 states and 12 countries over the next seven years.

Abdallah said in a prepared statement that Carson’s franchising experience will help the company reach its goal of having 70% of its restaurants owned by franchisees and 30% owned by the company.

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