SEATTLE-A former employee of Brinker International will become the company’s first domestic franchisee for it Romano’s Macaroni Grill brand. Barry McGowan, most recently an executive with Brinker’s franchisee in the UK, will develop and operate Romano’s Macaroni Grills in Oregon and Washington under the name Waterloo Restaurant Ventures Inc.

The company could not be reached on Tuesday for further comment. Dallas-based Brinker International owns, operates and franchises more than 190 Romano’s Macaroni Grills, along with seven other restaurant brands. Those brands include Chili’s Grill & Bar, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, Maggiano’s Little Italy, Cozymel’s Coastal Grill, Corner Bakery Cafe, Big Bowl Asian Kitchen and Rockfish Seafood Grill. All told, the company owns or franchises more than 1,300 restaurants in 49 states and 22 countries.

In October, the publicly traded casual dining operation reported a 15.4% increase in earnings per share during it first fiscal quarter ended Sept. 25. Profits were $45 million or $0.45 diluted earnings per share on revenue of $773.9 million during the quarter. At the close of trading Tuesday, Dec. 24, shares of Brinker stood at $32.25, up $0.36 on the day. The price is about $3.50 below its 52-week high and $6.40 above its 52-week low.

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