CEO Foust Remains Optimistic About 2002 Growth Plans, Despite Economic Slow Down

COLUMBUS, Ohio/PRNewswire/ -- The grill is on at three new franchised Damon's Grill locations in Tennessee, Florida and Indiana. With these openings, Damon's will have added 15 company and franchised restaurants this year. The latest franchised restaurants to open are located in:

Kingsport, Tenn., which opened this week
Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Fla., which opened October 31
Michigan City, Ind., which opened October 22.
Earlier this year, Damon's added locations in Medina, Ohio; Martinsville, Ind.; Crofton, Md.; Hazleton, Pa.; Mt. Clemens, Mich.; Hanover, Pa.; and Ann Arbor, Mich.

Most of the locations take advantage of Damon's new concept that includes a smaller, more cost-effective building, an upscale dining room separated from the high-energy Clubhouse with its big screen TVs, and an open kitchen. All of the restaurants feature a lighter interior and exterior decor scheme.

``Despite the downturn in the casual dining market, our new prototype is continuing to perform very well,'' said Shannon Foust, president and CEO of Damon's International, Inc. ``We continue to see strong interest in the Damon's concept from potential franchisees, and we attribute this, in great part, to the new prototype.''

With this year's openings, there are now 141 Damon's in the continental U.S., Puerto Rico and Great Britain. According to Foust, Damon's expects to open approximately 20 new locations in 2002. Five are scheduled to open in the first quarter, including Guaynabo, Puerto Rico; Fogelsville, Pa.; Waterfront, Pa; Cleveland, Ohio; and Blaine, Minn.

``Our strategy continues to be focused on building out markets where we already have locations,'' Foust added. ``Although we expect that the pace of development will slow as lenders increase scrutiny of all restaurant deals, we continue to be optimistic that our growth will continue in the new year.''

With more than 140 locations worldwide, Damon's International is a leading franchiser and operator of full-service, casual dining restaurants that emphasize grilled steaks, chicken and seafood, salads and Damon's award-winning ribs. Guests enjoy a quiet dining room or Damon's high-energy Clubhouse that features a state-of-the-art multi-screen entertainment system offering sports, network programming and interactive games. Founded in 1979, Damon's International is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.

SOURCE: Damon's Grill