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AUSTIN-Fired Up Inc. has hired a new firm to guide the Austin-based restaurant developers’ marketing efforts as it embarks on aggressive expansion campaign. Fired Up shelved its former firm, Denver-based Thomas & Perkins, to go with McGarrah/Jesse of Austin.

McGarrah/Jessee, which has done work for Mr. Gatti’s pizza restaurants and Schlotzsky’s sandwich shops, won the account after a two-month review. “McGarrah/Jessee has extensive experience in casual dining and working with franchise partners on a national basis,” Norman Abdallah, Fired Up’s co-CEO and president. “With our growth both domestically and internationally through franchises, it was important for our new agency to understand the needs of our partners worldwide.” McGarrah/Jessee plans to set up brand positioning, planning and buying media for all corporate restaurants, support franchise growth and executive creative campaigns to run in 2002.

The Austin-based Fired Up operates and franchises 35 Johnny Carino’s Country Italian restaurants, a Johnny Carino’s Pizzeria, two Gumbo’s Louisiana Style Cafes and the Brown Bar in Austin. The company intends to open more than 20 Johnny Carino restaurants in the next year and has development agreements to build 200 franchised restaurants in 13 states and 12 countries over the next seven years.

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