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ATLANTA-Arby’s Restaurant Group has agreements to develop 34 new restaurants across the country. Through existing franchisees, the chain will open locations in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Texas.

The expansion is part of the locally based company’s goal to eventually have 5,000 US restaurants, says Tom Garrett, president and chief operating officer, in a statement. Arby’s is the operator of 3,500 global units globally, most of which are in the US.

Phoenix will get the most of the 34 new restaurants, with 16 being added to that market. A franchisee named FX4, which has 47 Arby’s in the area, will operate those additional units. Marglen, another franchise firm, will open three more in other parts of Arizona.

During its most recently reported quarter, which ended July 2, Arby’s same-store sales increased 2% year over year. In the first half of the year the chain, which is a subsidiary New York City-based Triarc Companies, opened 51 company-owned units, with 30 more planned by the end of 2006.

About one third of Arby’s restaurants are owned and operated by Triarc, while the rest are run by franchisees. Last year Triarc acquired RTM Restaurant Group, and Arby’s franchisee with 775 restaurants, for $175 million in cash and 9.7 million shares of stock.

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