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What's Cookin', Jan. 21

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Za Za co-owners John Beachboard and Scott McGehee have formed a new company with a group of national restaurateurs in order to begin franchising their popular wood-oven pizza and salad restaurant. The new company, which includes former Kentucky governor and former KFC chairman and president John Brown, is contractually obligated to open at least five franchises in 2010, though Beachboard said his partners hoped to open 20 or 25.

Initially, the company will target Florida and Kentucky, according to Beachboard. There's a good chance, he said, that he'll be moving to South Florida to open the prototype franchise in the near future.

Beachboard said that he and McGehee are minority owners in the new company, though they retain full ownership of the original Heights location and future Conway outlet. The pair will also control franchising in Arkansas and surrounding states. Otherwise, Beachboard wouldn't divulge the terms of the deal.

Beachboard said that he and McGehee had signed a lease on a space near Hendrix College in Conway, but were waiting on a liquor license.

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