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Innovation & Job News

GR's Meritage Hospitality launches first eatery with a locally developed theme, adds over 65 jobs

Deborah Johnson Wood

Grand Rapids-based Meritage Hospitality Group, Inc. will convert its O'Charley's franchise at 1600 East Beltline NE to its first restaurant with a locally developed theme, this one to be called Twisted Rooster, a name based on traditional American fare with a twist.

Executive Chef Mark Noseda developed a menu that includes Wasabi Wings; Twisted Macaroni and Cheese made with smoked chicken, sweet peas, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes; and a Twisted Pulled Pork Sandwich topped with crispy noodle slaw and cheddar cheese.

Meritage Hospitality operates 73 restaurants in two brands, including four O'Charley's and 49 Wendy's in Michigan, and employs 2,200 people.

The expected launch July 21 of Twisted Rooster, coupled with growth at the corporate headquarters, brings more than 65 new full- and part-time jobs to West Michigan, says Heather Halligan, marketing coordinator. Those positions are over and above the 25 existing positions from O'Charley's. Halligan says all of those employees retained their jobs.

The new positions include a human resources assistant and accounting positions at the corporate headquarters, plus executive chef, restaurant manager, server and bartender jobs.

"O'Charley's has been here six years and we have a lot of loyal customers," says Halligan. "We were nearing the end of our agreement with O'Charley's and needed to resign or move on.

"We felt we needed to make the change and reinvest in the community," she says. "And we'll support the community further by using locally grown foods."

Halligan adds that Meritage has implemented an aggressive plan to expand to 150 stores by 2015. That includes converting all four Michigan O'Charley's to independent concepts by 2012.

Source: Heather Halligan, Meritage Hospitality Group, Inc.

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com. Development News tips can be sent to info@rapidgrowthmedia.com.
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