In an effort to help Bennigan’s Franchising Company expand its portfolio, the restaurant operator and shopping center owner Brixmor Property Group formed a strategic partnership to market Bennigan’s franchising opportunities at select Brixmor centers.

The partnership will help Bennigan’s franchisees open new locations by providing pre-approved real estate spaces in markets where the company would like to expand and giving qualified franchisees the opportunity to receive financing from Brixmor.

“What I love about this strategic partnership is that I am answering two critical questions in our industry: where do I open and how do I finance?” says Paul Mangiamele, president and CEO of Bennigan’s Franchising Co. “I think it’s a breakthrough strategy for a franchisor forming a strategic alliance with one of the most powerful real estate companies in the United States. As far as I know, no one else in the food service industry is doing that.”

Bennigan’s is targeting locations on pad sites and in strip centers in markets with middle to high middle income demographics, with the average size of 5,000 sq. ft. Brixmor operates 621 community and neighborhood shopping centers located throughout 39 states.

The two companies are now evaluating up to 30 potential locations for Bennigan’s restaurants for the initial phase of the partnership. Once the sites are identified within specific Brixmor properties, Brixmor’s management personnel will put up signs promoting the real estate and Bennigan’s franchising opportunities at these locations.

So far, Bennigan’s has already selected properties in Escondido, Calif., Superior, Colo., Charlotte, N.C., Greensboro, N.C., Cinnaminson, N.J., James Island, S.C., Spartanburg, S.C., Greenville, Tenn., Hermitage, Tenn., as well as Austin, Frisco, Fort Worth and Pasadena, Texas.

The partnership with Bennigan’s came about when Steve Kaufmann, senior vice president of retailer services and national accounts with Brixmor, had an informal meeting with Mangiamele. Since Bennigan’s was looking for existing real estate for its new restaurants, Brixmor’s centers appeared like they would be a perfect fit.

The two companies have “good chemistry,” says Kaufmann.

Brixmor has previously formed a similar partnership with the UPS Store.