Atlanta Music Execs Purchase, Now Plan to Construct With Bojangles | Franchise Information

Mel Carter lately signed a three way partnership cope with Warner Music for his document label, Second Property Information, however it’s restaurant franchises that first piqued his enterprise curiosity.

After immigrating to New York from Trinidad and Tobago when he was 12, Carter would go to the McDonald’s in his Flatbush, Brooklyn, neighborhood and was “blown away” when he came upon the native franchisee was Black.

“I assumed the idea of proudly owning a franchise was wonderful,” he mentioned. “And coming from the place I got here from, no Black particular person owned a enterprise.”

Carter mentioned rising up he by no means envisioned having sufficient cash to purchase a restaurant, however he’s completed precisely that—after which some. At the moment, his Melanbo franchise group owns 18 Bojangles and, with the signing of an settlement to develop 14 new eating places within the Atlanta space, is the biggest Black-controlled franchisee within the system.


Kevin “Coach Okay” Lee, left, and Mel Carter, proper are companions Bojangles franchisee group Melanbo, which is about to open 14 new eating places within the Atlanta space.

Additionally an investor in Candy Chick, a small restaurant chain co-owned by New York rapper Nas, Carter leveraged his relationships within the music business to create Melanbo, which he described as a “actually cool group of Black people who do very well.” One in every of his companions is Kevin “Coach Okay” Lee, co-founder and chief working officer of High quality Management, a recording label that counts Lil Child, Migos and Metropolis Women amongst its hip hop artists.

“We’re a bunch of profitable Black folks,” mentioned Carter as he famous certainly one of his objectives is to encourage Black youth and different teenagers who come from underserved, low-income areas. He received his begin within the music business managing neighborhood artists and would stand exterior recording studio places of work handy out demo CDs. He ultimately grew to become a senior vice chairman at Republic Information, the place he scouted, signed and fostered new expertise. Carter then began his Second Property label and signed breakout Philadelphia rapper 2Rare.

Bojangles, with about 800 eating places and recognized for its hen and biscuits, has eating places in Georgia however none in Atlanta. “We see a ton of alternative there,” mentioned Carter as he added he “genuinely fell in love with the meals.”

To interrupt into Bojangles, Carter and Melanbo acquired 18 southeastern shops in December 2021 from Jeniel LLC, owned by longtime franchisee David Maisel. “He needed somebody he may belief, who was passionate and who would proceed the legacy he began,” mentioned Carter of Maisel. “He handed them to me—and I handed them an enormous examine.”

Carter introduced in Robert Andreottola, former president of a big Applebee’s franchisee, as president of Melanbo. Jeff Mason stayed on from Jeniel as VP of operations and, “with the blessing of company,” Carter employed Robin Brown from Bojangles as his director of coaching and particular initiatives.  

Bojangles, mentioned Carter, is “a tremendous model, very open-minded,” and he seems ahead to collaborating on advertising concepts, equivalent to involving music artists in retailer openings. “It’s actually cool to see such an enormous model being open to that collaboration.”

Bojangles, which in 2021 grew systemwide gross sales 8.1 p.c, to $1.5 billion, celebrated 45 years in enterprise in 2022 and ramped up its improvement efforts over the previous two years. It signed an 80-store cope with Chaac Meals and has since added a number of extra multi-unit agreements to the pipeline.  

The fee to open a standard, free-standing Bojangles restaurant ranges from $1.9- to $3 million; an specific restaurant has an funding vary of $577,000 to $1.5 million. Common systemwide product sales in 2021 had been $1.48 million, with an AUV for full-size eating places of $1.9 million.

Bojangles’ enlargement efforts appealed to Carter, who “completely” needs to personal extra shops.

“My dream is to have a Bojangles in New York Metropolis at some point. And on the tempo Bojangles goes, I may completely see that,” he mentioned.