Fired Up Inc has signed a major agreement for the development of Johnny Carino's Country Italian restaurants in Kentucky and Southern Ohio.

Thomas & King Inc will develop Johnny Carino's in the Kentucky and Southern Ohio markets. Currently Thomas & King owns and operates 80 Applebee's and one Huddle House restaurant and is the eleventh-largest franchise company in the US.

Michael Scanlon, president and CEO of Thomas & King, said: "Creed Ford and Norman Abdallah have put together an exciting concept. Our guests will love the incredible food and our employees will love the growth opportunities that Johnny Carino's brings to Thomas & King."

Norman Abdallah, co-CEO and president of Fired Up Inc, commented: "Michael has put together a team of great operators who are passionate about food and developing a strong culture.

"Their emphasis [is] on customer satisfaction and employee development."

On 11 March 2002, Fired Up will open its 49th restaurant in Waxahachie, Texas. The Waxahachie location will be the first prototype eight building constructed featuring "Curbside To-Go" entry and a fresh new look replacing the covered patio with a stone and brick chimney element.

Fired Up currently has agreements in place to develop 250 Johnny Carino's both in the US and internationally.